Gabbing about Graphic Novels: Lunch Witch #2 (Knee-Deep in Niceness)

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gabbing-about-graphic-novels

It’s long past time that I created a new feature for graphic novels, given that I enjoy them so much and there are so many brilliant ones out there, so welcome to the inaugural, coincidentally-Halloween, edition of Gabbing About Graphic Novels.  Today’s book is the second in a series that I hadn’t heard of before, but will now make a point of pursuing.  We received a copy of Lunch Witch #2: Knee Deep in Niceness by Deb Lucke from the publisher, Papercutz, via Netgalley.  Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Grunhilda the Witch has a weakness…a tiny soft spot on her black and crusty heart. She continues to hide the nice feelings she has when she gets a letter from former Salem Elementary student Madison. But she can’t keep up the ruse for long because her familiars are onto her…and so are her ancestors! The familiars search her hovel and find her collection of letters from Madison. Mr. Williams has a solution, but it involves making a meanness potion from the book that IS-NOT-TO-BE-USED-BY-ANYONE-OTHER-THAN WITCHES (ESPECIALLY-NOT-WITCHES’-PETS). But anything that can go wrong does when he accidentally mixes up a positivity potion instead…and it starts to affect everyone in town. Birds are singing. Flowers are growing. The principal cancels school! Grunhilda hurries to mix up a potion to fix the town, her familiars, and her own black crusty heart before the positivity succeeds in making everything bright and cheerful.

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Target Age Range: 

Middle grade and above

Genre:

Comedy, fantasy

Art Style:

Line drawings, scratchy hand-lettering and some atmospheric cardboardy highlights

Reading time:

I read this in about three short sittings.  At 164 pages, it is more substantial than many graphic novels I had read and by the end I felt like I had finished a well-developed story.

Let’s get gabbing:

Even though I hadn’t read the first book in this series (which is called The Lunch Witch, in case you are interested), I had absolutely no problem following the story, as this feels a bit like a standalone.  Essentially, Grunhilda’s animal familiars think that she is hiding a kind-old-lady characteristic somewhere about her personality and they make the decision to alter this by (inadvisedly) using the old lady’s spell-book.  Disaster ensues and with the prospect of everlasting positive vibes overtaking the town, and its up to Grunhilda and one very determined Scout to make things right and miserable again.

Grunhilda is perfectly lovable as the cranky old witch with just a grain of love in her heart, while her collection of familiars – the irrepressible mutt, Mr Williams, straight-talking spider Louise and a collection of bats – provide alternating bouts of support, chaos and general ill-feeling.  Scout, the badge-obsessed boy scout, is an unexpected and standout character, as much for his determination to legitimately achieve a badge to sew on his sash (be it a “helping old ladies” badge or a “causing everlasting negativity for a whole town badge” – he isn’t fussy) as for his commitment to assisting the community (whether or not he is wanted, and however loosely the term “assisted” may be applied).

Best bits:

Apart from Scout, I have to say I found the ancestors pretty amusing, with their mish-mash of old-timey costumes and incessant banging on the underfloor of Grunhilda’s house with broom handles.

Recommended for:

This series would best suit subversive middle graders who like a story that flips stereotypes on their heads and isn’t afraid to delve into the wicked and vexatious sides of human (and witch) behaviour.

Until next time,

Bruce

 

 

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop 2016!

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spooktacular-2016

*insert scary noise here*

It’s time for the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop once again!  Thanks to Bookhounds for hosting this super fun and prize-ridden hop.  The hop runs from October 22nd to 31st and there are heaps of blogs participating, so don’t forget to skip around and try your luck.

I will be granting one winner their choice of spooky book up to $15AUD value from the Book Depository.  

My giveaway is open internationally, provided the Book Depository ships to your country for free.  Other Ts & Cs are in the rafflecopter form.

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter link below:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! Now hop along and try your hand at the other participating blogs:

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Until next time,

Bruce

Attack of the 14 Nights of Halloween Giveaway – and some Creepy Crochet Monsters!

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I’m excited to be participating in the 14 Nights of Halloween Giveaway hosted by Laughing Vixen Lounge!  This is a different sort of hop from the usual ones in which I participate, so make sure you have a good gander at the information below before you enter.  There are two awesomely generous prize packs and locks of fun spooky activities to indulge in leading up to the big, scary night.  Enjoy!  Don’t forget to check out Mad Martha’s review (below) of Creepy Crawly Crochet by Megan Kreiner, which we received for review from the publisher via Netgalley.  It’s chock-full of delightfully detailed spine-chilling cuties to crochet before Halloween!

It’s that time of year again. The days are getting shorter, the air is getting cooler and the nights are getting spookier. Yes, it’s time for tricks and treats, goblins and ghouls, chills and thrills and huge amounts of sugary sweets. But at the Laughing Vixen Lounge blog it’s also time for the 5th annual Attack of the 14 Nights of Halloween Giveaway. Join Laughing Vixen Lounge and our bewitching co-hosts The Kids Did It, The Mommy Island, Herding Cats and Burning Soup, The Hopping Bloggers, Mama Smith’s Reviews and Women and Their Pretties for a spooktacular Halloween event.

Enter to win a $250 Prize Pack filled with goodies from 10 wickedly fabulous shops. All shops are offering Gift Cards or your choice of item(s) so there will be something for everyone. Many of the shops have items perfect for any book lover along with lots of unique, handcrafted and custom designs to choose from.

Visit the Laughing Vixen Lounge blog daily during the giveaway for the Halloween Movie Marathon. Test your movie knowledge with the Guess the Movie Game. Then try to solve the Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt, if you dare! Each event will get you daily entries in the giveaway plus a special giveaway for the Scavenger Hunt. Find full details for these events HERE.

Yarning with Mad Martha about…Creepy Crawly Crochet by Megan Kreiner

yarning with mad martha_Fotor (2)

Well my dears, I think we have a new Halloween favourite here on the Shelf!  If you are a fan of crochet (and we know there are more than a few of you!), you would have to look far and wide to find a collection of more detailed patterns for a selection of your favourite monsters.  Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

They’re creepy but they’re cute and cuddly, too! Inspired by classic literature, film, and folklore, these 17 crochet monsters will delight everyone with a taste for old-fashioned thrillers and modern tales of horror. Detailed instructions include assembly diagrams for ease of construction along with full-color photos. The patterns are suitable for beginners, but advanced crocheters will find them irresistible as well.

These fetching fiends include Boo Boo the Voodoo Doll; Jack, the Headless Horseman, and his horse, Nightmare; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Carl of the Dead and Daisy, his Zombie Dog; and other sinister characters. In addition to their value as handmade keepsake treasures, these characters also make great gifts for fans of horror and science fiction.

creepy-crawly-crochet

Alas, I haven’t found time to make any of these scary shelf-mates yet, but I am just itching to get cracking on the Zombie Dog pattern for starters.  This is a remarkably well thought out pattern book.  Since I’ve been blogging about craft books in my Yarning series, I’ve been able to get a handle on what makes a craft book actually usable and what doesn’t, and this book has a number of features that set it apart as a book that you will actually USE to create the finished product.  

The finished products here look like they’ve been made from patterns that have been thoroughly tested, with all the kinks ironed out.  While this may mean that, at first glance, you might think “I couldn’t make that!!”, the thoroughness with which the patterns and instructions are set out means you can be confident that you won’t be left flailing about trying to figure out what goes where and how to get from (Round) A to (Round) B.  Kreiner has used a whole range of unusual needlecraft techniques that add plenty of character to her..characters and the patterns include illustrated diagrams showing how to create the features on the characters’ faces and bodies, so that readers can authentically replicate the finished product, rather than just get an approximation.  

There is plenty of variety in terms of types of creepy critters, from the undead to the never-alive to creatures from literature and folklore.  I loved the chubby-bellied werewolf and Frankenstein’s monster, but the Zombie Dog was my absolute favourite of the lot.  I couldn’t go past his withered skin and bony ribcage and think he’d make a great little guardian for anyone who is looking for a quirky desk companion.

I have to say that I think most of the patterns in this book are more suited to experienced amigurumi crafters, due to the wide range of techniques required, as well as the fact that many of the patterns require more technique than just crocheting a couple of different body shapes and stitching them together.  The Headless Horseman uses magnets, for example, to allow his head to come on and off as the user pleases, and while these are enormously handy skills to learn, they may put beginner crafters off a little.  The up-side of this is that the end product will actually look professional and reflect the level of skill that went into making it, so if you are game to give these a try, you will have something to really show off at the end.

I would heartily recommend this to those experienced in the art of crocheting amigurumi plushies who like to dabble in the dark side…mwahahahahahaaaaa!

So what’s your favourite Halloweenish book or movie?  Tell us in the comments!

You can start by entering the Rafflecopter widget below. To experience all the games, movies, shop features, giveaway info and all around awesome fun make sure to stop by the Laughing Vixen Lounge blog HERE.

The giveaway runs October 18th – November 1st and is open worldwide to anyone 18+. 1 winner will win the Prize Pack and 1 winner will win the Scavenger Hunt Prize Pack. Laughing Vixen Lounge is responsible for all giveaway details. Click HERE for full details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Until next time,

Bruce (and Martha)

Fiction in 50 October Challenge!

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Welcome to the very democratic October edition of Fiction in 50! To find out the skinny on the challenge just click on the image above.  Otherwise, we’d love it if you would join in with this month’s Fi50, which asks the stout of heart to respond to a prompt with a piece of fiction using 50 words or less.  This month’s prompt is….

the darker side of

You fill in the blank!

So it can be the darker side of whatever you like…cheese…beauty pageants…grain-fed triffids….anything!  Keen-eyed readers will notice I haven’t included a linky this month, but I encourage participants to leave a link to their contributions in the comments so others can hop around.  Also, if you want to share on twitter, you can use the hashtag #Fi50

Here’s my contribution – it’s a little bit spooky due to the proximity of All Hallow’s Eve. Enjoy! *Oh, and the (sing) is for singular and (pl) is for plural in case grammar is not your strong point.*

The Darker Side of Conjugations

I am hiding.

You (sing) are hiding.

We are hiding.

He, she or it is coming.

I am discovered.

You are discovered.

We are doomed.

He, she or it is biting.

We are bitten.

I am changing.

You are changing.

We are changed.

We are all coming.

You (pl) are doomed.

Don’t forget to add your link in the comments – I can’t wait to see what people have come up with! Oh, and new players are always welcome.

Next month’s prompt will be:

if at first you don't succeed

And if you are looking for other ways to kill some time in a literary manner, why not have a go at my Bookish Year in Review Survey ? It’s good for what ails ya! Good luck!

Until next time, may your hiding places remain undiscovered by shambling hordes,

Bruce

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Spooktacular Giveaway Hop! Win (Mildly) Scary Stuff!

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Spooktacular2014

Welcome to my stop on the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop! The hop is running from October 15th to 31st and is hosted by I Am a Reader!  Don’t forget to hop around the other 200+ blogs participating in the event, and try your hand at winning all sorts of spooky stuff.

I have decided to provide some spooky options for readers of all ages for this hop.  My giveaway is open internationally, provided the Book Depository ships to your country for free.  One winner will be able to choose ONE of the books below as their prize.  Click on the book cover to find out more about the book!

For the little horror buff:

sherlock holmes little primer

For the middle grade scare-fiend (one of my personal favourites):

uncle montague

And for the grown-up terror:

screaming staircase

Although, if the winner has already read/bought the first in the series of Tales of Terror, OR Lockwood and Co, I will be happy to substitute the second in the series if the winner so chooses.

To enter, click on this link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! And now here’s the list of other participating blogs – hop on my friends, and good fortune…

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Until next time,

Bruce

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Putting the “Ha!” in Halloween: Three Fun, Creepy Reads…

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Good afternoon on this bright and breezy All Hallow’s Eve’s Eve!  Today I have three reads for the young and young at heart that are sufficiently spooky, creepy or icky as to qualify for the “Halloween Reads” category, while also having enough humour to satisfy those with a sissy sensitive consitution.

In ascending order of age-appropriateness, we have:

Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children

by Lisa Wheeler and Sophie Blackall

spinster goose

Synopsis:

A cautionary tale in poetry warning children to behave, lest they be sent to learn proper decorum under the guidance of the horrid headmistress, Spinster Goose.

In case you’re wondering who might be sent to such a school and what their fate might be, the following verse from the tome will probably suffice to explain:

The pinchers get pinched,

and the pokers get poked.

The biters get bit,

and the smokers get smoked.

The takers get taken.

The sordid get sore.

The shakers get shaken right down to their core.       (p7)

So watch out.

Spook factor: A resounding 3 out of 5 screams for anyone who has ever attended (or is about to attend) school…

Laugh-o-meter: Giggle-inducing. Particularly if you are, or ever have been, a teacher.

Reading Age: Read-aloud-able from early school age

And next we have…

Sucked In! The Story of an Appendix on the Loose

by Paul Jennings and Terry Denton

sucked in

Synopsis:

A jaunty tale about a disembodied appendix that escapes its specimen jar and creates stomach-heaving havoc around the neighbourhood.

Spook Factor: 4 out of 5 screams for pure, unadulterated ingestion-by-appendix

Laugh-o-meter: Guffaw to Belly Laugh. 

Reading Age: Read-aloud-able from early school age, read alone for middle grade

And finally…

Demon Dentist

by David Walliams

Demon dentist

Synopsis:

Local kids begin finding unspeakable offerings under their pillows instead of the usual coinage, in exchange for loose teeth.  On a completely unrelated note, a new, slightly odd dentist sets up shop in the town.

Spook Factor: 2 out of 5 screams for the unspeakable offerings

Laugh-o-meter: Chortle-icious

Reading Age: Middle grade

So there you have it – three spooktacularly fun reads for mini-fleshlings.  Enjoy!

Until next time,

Bru -oooo -ce

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Bruce Gargoyle's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Simply Gargoylicious: A cute tee for allies of gargoyle kind

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Just had to share this one. It has nothing to do with books. It has everything to do with gargoyles.

Vote for it to get printed at shirt.woot.com if you like, here: http://shirt.woot.com/derby/entry/66860/shy-pocket-monster

Until next time (which may be sooner than you think!)

Bruce