Disappearing Posts? It’s time to start the move!

As hinted at in the past, I am work­ing on a new site.  While I have been Urban Bach­e­lorette in some form since 2009, it’s time to step up my site and move to a bet­ter fit­ting moniker.  I am proud to announce that as of April 30th, Urban­Bach­e­lorette will be fully tran­si­tioned to Stain­sOn­TheP­age.

Between now and April 30th, I will move some of this con­tent there, and the rest will be archived for my per­sonal use.  I will be con­tact­ing those of you I have a work­ing rela­tion­ship with to let you know of the changes so you can update your links as well.

I have not decided if I will con­tinue to use Urban­Bach­e­lorette for more per­sonal posts, or if I will end this chap­ter in my blog­ging life.

This is both a wel­come tran­si­tion and a sad time as Urban­Bach­e­lorette was my first foray into the blog­ging world and book reviews.  I will not post any­thing new here, and I hope you will con­tinue to fol­low me over at SotP.  I already have a cou­ple of posts ready to go and I can’t wait to con­tin­u­ing shar­ing my thoughts with every­one through my new site.

So what are you wait­ing for? Head over to Stains On The Page and tell me what you think!

Review: Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin

Title: Pic­ture the Dead
(Ama­zon, Goodreads, Web­site)
Author: Adele Grif­fin
(Ama­zon, Goodreads, Web­site)
Series: None
Pub­lisher: Source­Books Fire
Genre: His­tor­i­cal Romance, Para­nor­mal Thriller
For­mat: Paper­back
Source: Pub­lisher pro­vided review copy

Syn­op­sis:

On the home front near Boston in 1864, Jen­nie feels her twin’s pres­ence like “a wave crash­ing over me” moments after he dies in a Union field hos­pi­tal. Over the next year, she senses his pres­ence and, more strongly, that of her fiancé, their cousin Will, who also died in the war. Will’s brother Quinn arrives home wounded, gaunt, and haunted by his expe­ri­ences. When his painful rev­e­la­tions change the way she thinks about Will, Jen­nie faces hard choices and tries to con­tact the dead for guid­ance in dis­cov­er­ing the truth. Brown’s evoca­tive black-​​and-​​white draw­ings of pho­tographs, let­ters, and other doc­u­ments such as news­pa­per clip­pings appear between chap­ters in four-​​page, black-​​paper sec­tions rep­re­sent­ing Jennie’s scrap­books and, equally, pos­si­ble evi­dence in the mys­tery. Although Griffin’s vivid writ­ing will draw read­ers into Jennie’s first-​​person nar­ra­tive of love, doubt, and mys­tery, the tale goes beyond her par­tic­u­lar ghosts and also shows how broadly the coun­try was haunted: sur­vivors by the loss of loved ones and sol­diers by wretched mem­o­ries. A Civil War ghost story with gothic overtones.

Review:

I took longer to read this than I had planned since it was a short book, but I did enjoy it.  I had my sus­pi­cions through­out and was pleas­antly sur­prised to dis­cover that some of them were true.  Jen­nie is a well-​​developed char­ac­ter and as the story unfolds, Grif­fin draws the reader into the story.  Directed towards six to nine year olds and I can see myself at that age enjoy­ing this book a lot.  Filled with images of Jennie’s scrap­book, the reader gets a more tac­tile approach to the book than mere sto­ry­telling.  If some of the let­ters had been more read­able, I would have enjoyed it even more, sleuthing through the hand­writ­ten clues along with Jen­nie, but even not being able to read it all, I didn’t feel it detracted much from the book itself.

There are a few nice twists to this story, and over­all I would rec­om­mend this book to young chil­dren with an inter­est in ghosts and his­tor­i­cal fiction.

Review: Type Matters! Simple Tips for Everyday Typography by Jim Williams

Title: Type Mat­ters!  Sim­ple Tips for Every­day Typog­ra­phy
(Ama­zon, Goodreads)
Author:  Jim Williams
(Ama­zon, Goodreads)
Series: None
Pub­lisher: Mer­rell
Genre: Non-​​fiction
For­mat: Journal/​Paperback
Source: 60 Cycle Media

Syn­op­sis:

Back of the Book:

Nowa­days, most of us work on per­sonal com­put­ers and have access to hun­dreds of dif­fer­ent type­faces.  We’d all like our let­ters, reports, school projects and other doc­u­ments to look as good and be as read­able as pos­si­ble.  How­ever, few of us can use typog­ra­phy effec­tively.  Type Mat­ters! is per­fect for desk­top ref­er­ence, and is packed with every­day tips for those keen to improve the look of their type, whether it be on screen or in print.  Beau­ti­fully designed to rein­force the prin­ci­ples dis­cussed through­out, Type Mat­ters! shows exactly what makes good typog­ra­phy and what doesn’t, pre­sent­ing clear guid­ance on how to cre­ate doc­u­ments that are both read­able and elegant.

From the Publisher:

Once upon a time, only type­set­ters needed to know about kern­ing, lead­ing, lig­a­tures and hang­ing punc­tu­a­tion. Today, how­ever, most of us work on com­put­ers, with access to hun­dreds of fonts, and we’d all like our let­ters, reports and other doc­u­ments to look as good – and be as read­able – as pos­si­ble. But what does all the con­fus­ing ter­mi­nol­ogy about ink traps, let­ter spac­ing and visual cen­tring mean, and what are the rules for good typog­ra­phy? Type Mat­ters! is a book of tips for every­day use, for all users of typog­ra­phy, from stu­dents and pro­fes­sion­als to any­one who does any lay­out design on a com­puter. The book is arranged into three chap­ters: an intro­duc­tion to the basics of typog­ra­phy; head­line and dis­play type; and set­ting text. Within each chap­ter there are sec­tions devoted to par­tic­u­lar prin­ci­ples or prob­lems, such as select­ing the right type­face, lead­ing and the treat­ment of num­bers. Exam­ples show pre­cisely what makes good typog­ra­phy – and, cru­cially, what doesn’t. Author­i­ta­tively writ­ten and designed by a prac­ti­tioner and teacher of typog­ra­phy, Type Mat­ters! has a beau­ti­fully clear lay­out that rein­forces the prin­ci­ples dis­cussed throughout.

• The ulti­mate book of typog­ra­phy tips for any­one inter­ested in improv­ing the look of their type

• Clear subject-​​by-​​subject struc­ture helps the reader quickly iden­tify the rel­e­vant topic

• Ele­gantly designed, with soft flexi bind­ing, rib­bon place­hold­ers and an elas­tic enclo­sure, ideal for handy desk­top reference

My Review:

When Rob at 60 Cycle Media con­tacted me to review this book, I was excited.  It’s not my typ­i­cal kind of book, but I recently fin­ished a typog­ra­phy assign­ment for my graphic design course, and the focus of my next dig­i­tal imag­ing project is on the use of typog­ra­phy, so this came to my atten­tion at the per­fect time.

This is a book that is more than just pages filled with infor­ma­tion.  It’s an expe­ri­ence.  The soft, journal-​​like appear­ance of the cover makes me want to hold it in my hands, and the two rib­bons, red and black, cry out for you to find a place to mark a page with them.  The pages are heavy stock and add to the over­all feel­ing that this book will last a life­time or maybe even two.

Geared toward novices, I also see it being use­ful for more advanced typog­ra­phy learn­ers by pro­vid­ing a lit­tle more his­tory and excel­lent exam­ples of what is a good and what is a bad use of typog­ra­phy.  The text is often repeated in var­i­ous type­faces, but it pro­vides so much more than just what the words are con­vey­ing.  Printed in red and black text, Williams cer­tainly did a superb job in lay­ing this book out for his audience.

I read that Williams wrote this as a primer for his classes, and I can only imag­ine how use­ful this was for his stu­dents, so I’m very glad he decided to make it avail­able to more peo­ple in such a won­der­ful edition.

Not only did I learn some inter­est­ing typog­ra­phy facts, but I also fig­ured out what I am going to do for my dig­i­tal imag­ing project on typography.

This book releases in April and I hope if you have an inter­est in typog­ra­phy, or know some­one who is, pick up a copy or give it as a gift.  It will make its new owner very grate­ful indeed.

Review: The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher

Title:  The Water Wars (Ama­zon, Goodreads)
Author: Cameron Stra­cher (Ama­zon, Goodreads)
Series: N/​A
Pub­lisher: Source­books Fire
Genre: Young Adult, Sci­ence Fic­tion
For­mat: Paper­back
Source: Review copy from Publisher

Syn­op­sis:

Wel­come to a future where water is more pre­cious than oil or gold…

Hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple have already died, and mil­lions more will soon fall-​​victims of dis­ease, hunger, and dehy­dra­tion. It is a time of drought and war. The rivers have dried up, the polar caps have melted, and drink­able water is now in the hands of the pow­er­ful few. There are fines for wast­ing it and prison sen­tences for exceed­ing the quotas.

But Kai didn’t seem to care about any of this. He stood in the open road drink­ing water from a plas­tic cup, then spilled the remain­ing drops into the dirt. He didn’t go to school, and he trav­eled with armed guards. Kai claimed he knew a secret-​​something the gov­ern­ment is keep­ing from us…

And then he was gone. Van­ished in the mid­dle of the night. Was he kid­napped? Did he flee? Is he alive or dead? There are no clues, only ques­tions. And no one can guess the lengths to which they will go to keep him silent. We have to find him-​​and the truth-​​before it is too late for all of us.

My review:

The world of Water Wars is as dry as you would expect given the title, but the story itself is even drier.  This sounded like a great choice, one that could stand out in the ever-​​increasing num­ber of young adult dystopian nov­els.  Unfor­tu­nately, it didn’t hold up.  The char­ac­ters weren’t inter­est­ing, and even the bit of love spark­ing between Kai and Vera feels thrown in and lifeless.

The first half of the book is decent, but once you reached the half-​​way point, the adven­tures of Vera and Will as they search for Kai become cra­zier and cra­zier.  Even in a world with­out read­ily acces­si­ble drink­able water, these sce­nar­ios are just too much.  While I do think the point Stra­cher makes about con­serv­ing water and a pos­si­ble future for our world if we don’t con­serve, I think it comes across as too preachy in this book.

If you’re a big fan of the young-​​adult dystopian books that are every­where, give it a shot, you might like it more than I did.   The cover is truly beau­ti­ful, but not even that make this story worth­while in my book.

Review: Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith

Title:  Ali­son Won­der­land (Ama­zon, Goodreads)
Author:  Helen Smith (Ama­zon, Goodreads, Web­site)
Series: None
Pub­lisher: Ama­zon Encore
Genre: Mys­tery, Fic­tion
For­mat: Paper­back
Source: Author sent a copy for review.

Syn­op­sis:

After her hus­band leaves her for another woman, twen­tysome­thing Lon­doner Ali­son Tem­ple impul­sively applies for a job at the very P.I. firm she hired to trap her phi­lan­der­ing ex. She hopes it will be the change of scene she so des­per­ately needs to move on with her shat­tered life. At the all-​​female Fitzgerald’s Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion, she spends her days track­ing lost objects and her nights shad­ow­ing unfaith­ful hus­bands. But no mat­ter what the case, none of her clients can com­pare to the fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ters in her per­sonal life. There’s her boss, the estimable and tidy Mrs. Fitzger­ald; Taron, Alison’s eccen­tric best friend, who claims her mother is a witch; Jeff, her love-​​struck, poetry-​​writing neigh­bor; and—last but not least—her psy­chic post­man. Her rela­tion­ships with them all become entan­gled when she joins Taron for a road trip to the sea­side and stum­bles into a mis­ad­ven­ture of epic pro­por­tions! Clever, quirky, and infused with just a hint of magic, this humor­ous lit­er­ary novel intro­duces a mem­o­rable hero­ine strug­gling with the every­day com­plex­i­ties of mod­ern life.

My Review:

My first reac­tion when I fin­ished this book was ‘Huh?’  I wasn’t sure what I had just read or why.  The title intrigued me and if I had come across it in a store with the new cover I def­i­nitely would have picked it up myself.  How­ever, after read­ing this, I’m not sure if I should rec­om­mend it or not.

The char­ac­ters are def­i­nitely inter­est­ing.  Each char­ac­ter has its own quirks and adds to the story, but what is the story?  That seems to be the biggest ques­tion.  There is no real con­clu­sion to the story, nor is it writ­ten to lead to a sequel.  I feel as if Smith started with a great story and yet dis­tracted by ran­dom tan­gents along the way.  The ‘end’ with the sheep hybrid and the farmer who cares for it didn’t seem to fit in and feels like a gra­tu­itous ‘eww’ moment so there is some­thing mem­o­rable about the book.  Although it’s not mem­o­rable for a good reason.

I’m not sure who I would rec­om­mend this to, but if you’re expect­ing a lit­tle PI mys­tery mixed with some chick-​​lit like events, this is not the book for you.  I feel that Smith has a way with words and could write a won­der­ful book, per­haps her oth­ers are more like that, but this one just isn’t it.

Review: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Title: The West­ing Game (Ama­zon, Goodreads)
Author: Ellen Raskin (Ama­zon, Goodreads)
Series: None
Pub­lisher: Puf­fin
Genre: Young Adult, Mys­tery
For­mat: Paper­back
Source: Pur­chased from Half-​​Price Books

Syn­op­sis:

When an eccen­tric mil­lion­aire dies mys­te­ri­ously, 16 very unlikely peo­ple are gath­ered together for the read­ing of the will–and what a will it is.

Review:

I read this as a child and was recently reminded of it.  I sought out a good con­di­tion used copy for my col­lec­tion as it is def­i­nitely a book I want my chil­dren to read.  I’ve read this so many times, you’d think I would remem­ber who the mur­derer is and how it was done, but even with this read, some things were famil­iar, but it was still a sur­prise in the end.

This is a good mys­tery with some unique char­ac­ters and an inter­est­ing set of cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing their arrival at Sun­set Tow­ers.  It reminds me of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie which is also an excel­lent mystery.

If you read this as a child, re-​​read it.  If you haven’t read it yet, pick it up.  I re-​​read it in an evening and it is well worth your time.

Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Title: Bumped (Ama­zon, Goodreads)
Author: Megan McCaf­ferty (Ama­zon, Goodreads, Web­site)
Series: Bumped
Pub­lisher: Balzer & Bray
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Fic­tion
For­mat: Kin­dle E-​​Book
Source: Net­Gal­ley

Syn­op­sis:

WHENVIRUS makes every­one over the age of eigh­teen infer­tile, would-​​be par­ents must pay teen girls to con­ceive and give birth to their chil­dren, mak­ing teens the most prized mem­bers of society.

Sixteen-​​year-​​old iden­ti­cal twins Melody and Har­mony were sep­a­rated at birth and had never met until the day Har­mony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have fol­lowed com­pletely oppo­site paths. Melody has scored an envi­able con­cep­tion con­tract with a cou­ple called the Jay­dens. While they search for the per­fect part­ner for Melody to bump with, she is fight­ing her attrac­tion to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Har­mony has spent her whole life in reli­gious Good­side, prepar­ing to be a wife and mother. She believes her call­ing is to con­vince Melody that preg­ging for profit is a sin. But Har­mony has secrets of her own that she is run­ning from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-​​famous, genet­i­cally flaw­less Jon­doe, both girls’ lives are changed for­ever. A case of mis­taken iden­tity takes them on a jour­ney nei­ther could have ever imag­ined, one that makes Melody and Har­mony real­ize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

Review:

I pushed myself and man­aged to fin­ish this one, but it was def­i­nitely a strug­gle.  I can’t hon­estly rec­om­mend this book to any­one and I cer­tainly wouldn’t con­sider it good for young adults.  This coun­try faces an enor­mous prob­lem of teenage preg­nancy and unplanned babies.  Yes, I do under­stand the genre is dystopian, but I believe the mes­sage teens would come away with is more pro-​​teen preg­nancy than not.  It seems as though (Author) is head­ing in that direc­tion in the sequel to this, but I will never know as I do not plan to read it or any other books by her for that mat­ter.  The writ­ing itself isn’t hor­ri­ble, but it’s filled with made up slang and it seems the only thing on the minds of these girls is sex and who is going to get pregnant.

(Author) does a good deal of devel­op­ment and change with the two main char­ac­ters, but it’s not until the very last part of the book that you really see the dilem­mas Melody and Har­mony are fac­ing.  With the flip­ping back and forth between per­spec­tives of two twins, it would have been ben­e­fi­cial for (Author) to make their names a lit­tle less inter­change­able.  I found it hard to remem­ber which twin was nar­rat­ing and there aren’t a lot of clues in the chap­ters to help.

Over­all, the writ­ing lacked some much-​​needed devel­op­ment, the char­ac­ters needed to be more dif­fer­ent from each other, and the over­all story could have used a lit­tle more dystopian feel to it.  This was much, much too bright and bub­bly for a dystopian novel where teen preg­nancy is a must due to a virus (more back­ground on that would have helped the story as well) and the future of the human race is depen­dent on teens pro­cre­ation before they are affected by the virus.

Review: Slipping Reality by Emily Beaver

Title: Slip­ping Real­ity (Ama­zon, Goodreads)
Author:  Emily Beaver (Goodreads, Web­site)
Series: None
Pub­lisher: Author­house
Genre: Young Adult
For­mat: Kin­dle E-​​Book
Source: Net­Gal­ley

Syn­op­sis:

In a time of hard­ship and heart­break, some­times, real­ity just isn’t enough. Slip­ping Real­ity is the story of fourteen-​​year-​​old Kate­lyn Emer­son, who, when faced with the glar­ing real­ity of her brother’s ill­ness, rebels against the truth by slip­ping away into the depths of her own imag­i­na­tion. There, she finds the kind of sup­port and com­fort she feels she deserves. There, she does not have to feel so alone. And yet, as Katelyn’s grasp on real­ity begins to unravel, so too does the story of a girl who grew up too fast and fell apart too soon. Emily Beaver’s debut novel is a com­ing of age story that deals with the tri­als of young grief, insight, and growth where it’s least expected.

Review:

It took me longer than planned to read this book, but some­times life gets in the way.  For Emily Beaver, and her char­ac­ter, Kate­lyn, life got in the way of her nor­mal life as well.  The story is told from a young girl’s per­spec­tive as she deals with the final­ity of her brother’s bat­tle with can­cer.  She finds escape in her imag­i­na­tion, although at times, her fic­tion is so believ­able, you begin to won­der what’s real and what’s not.  Beaver’s writ­ing is amaz­ing, but you don’t dis­cover that until you are well into the book.  The begin­ning of the book goes back and forth between real­ity and imag­i­na­tion so much that it’s hard to keep track of where you are and what’s hap­pen­ing.  I think with a lit­tle edit­ing this could have been fixed up.  Once the base­line of the story is set though, you are drawn into a world that allows Kate­lyn to deal with the anx­i­ety and issues she has related to her brother and best friend dying.

There are a lot of raw emo­tions in this book, and it’s hard not to feel for both the char­ac­ter and the author.  At the end of the book, there is a note from the author detail­ing how she came to write this story about her strug­gles with her brother’s death at a young age from can­cer.  The begin­ning of the book is clearly writ­ten by a 14 year-​​old, but you can see her writ­ing blos­som as she devel­ops the story.  I am excited to see what comes from her in the future.

I would highly rec­om­mend this book to any­one who has lost a loved one, or is deal­ing with the loss of a loved one to can­cer.  I would also rec­om­mend this to teens who are deal­ing with a loss of any kind.  I know read­ing sim­i­larly themed sto­ries as a young adult helped me through some hard times and I know I would have read this had it been released all those years ago.

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