Book Reviews

Lettering for Absolute Beginners by Danielle Stringer

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Lettering for Absolute Beginners: Using Faux Calligraphy To Create Simple, Versatile Projects
By: Danielle Stringer

To Be Published: December 2019
Published by: Fox Chapel Publishing
Format Read: eBook, Kindle, Net Galley
Genre: Non-fiction, How-To, Arts and Crafts

Rating: 2/5


An absolute must-have guide for beginners, this is an interactive workbook designed to teach you how to create gorgeous lettering with any pen on any surface, no brush pen or calligraphy nib necessary! You’ll learn how to draw letters, words, inspirational phrases, and bible verses in multiple alphabet styles by practicing outlining letters and thickening downstrokes. Perforated traceable phrases and backgrounds allow you to make your own art, pull it out, then frame it. Simple, approachable, and fun, this method is versatile for any surface so you can create stunning faux calligraphy on paper, chalkboards, wood, glass, and more! Author Danielle Stringer is the owner and artist behind Imperfect Dust and shares her secret to hand lettering; that it doesn’t have to be daunting! With the hope of encouraging readers to pick up a pen and go for it, Stringer will teach you how to achieve the calligraphy look with simple key lines.


My Thoughts

Danielle Stringer’s Lettering for Absolute Beginners, caught my attention as I have recently become interested in hand written home décor. I hoped that if I could teach myself (with the aid of how-to books) to do so, I could create my own handmade signs. Stringer promises that her book would teach readers “faux calligraphy” and I was hopeful that I would be successful.

This book gave some good tips on the best tools to use according to the surface being lettered. One of the main points I took away was adding body to your downstrokes and using lighter lines for upstrokes. Do I think that this will help to enhance my writing? Yes, however I wouldn’t say that I now know how to do “faux calligraphy”.

Danielle Stringer clearly has a talent for this art form and I don’t doubt that she would be able to teach others how to do it, however I felt that this book read as a blog post. The eBook format that I read this in, skewed the images and made it hard to follow for practice. I would recommend those who may be interested in reading Lettering for Absolute Beginners, to do so with a physical copy.

Additional Notes

To see more of Danielle Stringer’s artwork check out her Instagram or her website: Imperfect Dust .

Books Hauls

Audiobook Haul: September-October 2019

Here are the books I acquired from Audible during the months of September and October.

Body of Proof by Darrell Brown & Sophie Ellis
Narrated by: Darrell Brown & Sophie Ellis

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Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
Narrated by: Holly Warren & Teddy Hamilton

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The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld

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My Lost Family by Danny Ben-Moshe & Dasha Lisitsina
Narrated by: Danny Ben-Moshe

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Murder in the Mystery Suite (Book Retreat Mysteries, #1) by Ellery Adams
Narrated by: Johanna Parker

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A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1) by Sherry Thomas
Narrated by: Kate Reading

Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Recommendations

Charlie’s Corner: Book Review: Saltwater Joys

Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share baby/children’s product and book reviews.

Saltwater Joys
By: Wayne Chaulk
Illustrated by: Dawn Baker

Published: August 2012
Published by: Pennywell Books
Format Read: Paperback
Genre: Children’s Lit, Picture Book, Lyrical, Cultural

Rating: 5/5


“Saltwater Joys” is perhaps one of the most popular and well-known songs to come out of Newfoundland and Labrador. Written by Wayne Chaulk of Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers, the song is a celebration of the simple pleasures of outport life.

This beloved song is now available in book form, with Dawn Baker’s stunning illustrations capturing the joys of living in Newfoundland. From enjoying quiet mornings in the cove, to admiring icebergs in the spring and brightly coloured leaves in the fall, to breathing in the salty ocean smells and watching the sun set over the water, the words to the song come alive within these pages.

Complete with sheet music at the back, Saltwater Joys is as beautiful as the song that inspired it.

Finalist for the 2014 Heritage and History Book Award

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

On our last trip to Newfoundland, I was lucky to find a signed copy of Wayne Chaulk’s book Saltwater Joys. As I am eager to continually expand our collection of literature from the province, I am very pleased to say that it is currently in heavy rotation among my toddlers numerus books.

This children’s picture book, follows the lyrics to the song of the same name, that was made popular by Chaulk’s band Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers. It tells the story of a young boy who takes pride in his island home.

Beautifully illustrated by artist Dawn Baker, the scenes depict each line of the song in vibrant colours that capture life in Newfoundland, past and present. This copy also includes the sheet music, for those who are so inclined to play the song themselves.

I believe that everyone (young and old) could enjoy this picture book. Especially those who are interested in Newfoundland culture and those who are fans of musician Wayne Chaulk.

Additional Notes

Saltwater Joys by Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader


The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets
By: Molly Fader

Published: July 2019
Published by: Graydon House
Format Read: eBook, Kindle, Net Galley
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

NOTE: I was sent a copy of The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader, by the publisher via Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review.


What drove their family apart just might bring them back together…

It’s been seventeen years since the tragic summer the McAvoy sisters fell apart. Lindy, the wild one, left home, carved out a new life in the city and never looked back. Delia, the sister who stayed, became a mother herself, raising her daughters and running the family shop in their small Pennsylvania hometown on the shores of Lake Erie.

But now, with their mother’s ailing health and a rebellious teenager to rein in, Delia has no choice but to welcome Lindy home. As the two sisters try to put their family back in order, they finally have the chance to reclaim what’s been lost over the years: for Delia, professional dreams and a happy marriage, and for Lindy, a sense of home and an old flame–and best of all, each other.

But when one turbulent night leads to a shocking revelation, the women must face the past they’ve avoided for a decade. And there’s nothing like an old secret to bring the McAvoy women back together and stronger than ever.

With warm affection and wry wit, Molly Fader’s The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets is about the ties that bind family and the power of secrets to hold us back or set us free.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets follow two estranged sisters, an ailing mother and a rebellious teenager daughter. It is a family drama where one sister stays behind and the other leaves. It is chalk full of memories of their lives that although had their happier times, was shadowed by tragedy.

I was instantly eager to uncover the secrets about what happened between Lindy and Delia. Naturally I speculated as I read along, thinking I had the answer pinned down. Toward the middle of this novel I became slightly bored by the direction it went, however the last quarter was far more interesting and redeemed itself for a 3.5 rating from this reviewer.

I would recommend The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets to those who enjoy reading women’s fiction, however I found that there were some parts of the plot that I wish were more developed. I do believe that most people will find a character in this story they could relate to in some way or another. However I would advise caution to those who are sensitive to trigger warnings, as it does touch on some very serious topics.

Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: October 2019

Total Books Read in October: 3
Total Books Read in 2019: 31

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Lettering for Absolute Beginners: Using Faux Calligraphy to Create Simple, Versatile Projects
By: Danielle Stringer

Genre: Non-fiction, How-to
Rating: 2.5/5
NOTE: I was sent a copy of Lettering for Absolute Beginners by Danielle Stringer, from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.


The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets
By: Molly Fader

Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Note: I was sent a copy of The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader, from the publisher, via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.


Girl, Wash Your Face
By: Rachel Hollis

Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir, Self-help book
Rating: 4/5

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 3
Total Number of Fiction: 1
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 2
Total Books Sent for Review: 2
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 1
Total Library Books Read: 0

Formats Read

Physical Books: 0
eBooks: 2
Audio Books: 1

Challenge Update

2019 New Release Challenge: 2
2019 TBR Jar Challenge:

November TBR

I am still trying to catch up on my TBR Jar selections from September and October.


November TBR Jar Selection


Sent for Review


Currently Reading

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