Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece
October 30th, 2019 by diane92345

In Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece, Celeste Cabot, with her Chihuahua Van Gogh, is embarking on a new life as a freelance artist. Living in her tiny bright pink trailer, Celeste has good sales at her first craft fair until she finds the organizer murdered and she is the number one suspect.

Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece but so can her first sales return. The customer says the painting is haunted. Celeste thinks that’s absurd until she sees the ghostly Victorian women from the painting appear that night in her trailer. It couldn’t be her imagination if Van Gogh also saw it too, right?

Celeste has the perfect amount of chutzpah without stupidly stumbling into dumb situations. Handsome potential love interest Caleb is a good match for her—provided he is not the killer. They both are dog people and artists after all. I also enjoyed the ghostly elements. It was fun to have two mysteries to solve. However, I was disappointed that the three female suspects within the fair—Ruth, Shar, and Carly—were not fully fleshed out so I didn’t really care if one of them was the murderer. In addition, the travel trailer tips beginning each chapter were kind of corny. I also felt the mystery was too easy to solve. 3 stars.

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , ,

Hidden Things
August 19th, 2019 by diane92345

Suspenseful heist thriller where Hidden Things don’t stay hidden forever.

When fourteen-year-old Carly is attacked in her house, the police post video from her home’s security system hoping someone will recognize her attacker. While it only takes 44 views to find her assailant, the video has now spread far and wide on the internet generating millions of views. While happy that Carly’s attacker is behind bars, her stepfather is in trouble in two areas. First, his family didn’t know the security cameras were in the house. Worse, the attack video shows a small fragment of a famous stolen multi-million dollar painting on the wall.

Engrossing look into high-end art theft and its aftermath. Hidden Things keeps its reader at a high level of suspense while propelling them forward to the excellent conclusion. This book is recommended to anyone looking for a thrilling ride through the illegal art trade. 4 stars!

Thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

A History of Art in 21 Cats
August 14th, 2019 by diane92345

From ancient Egyptian tomb art to modern day graffiti and YBAs, A History of Art in 21 Cats describes and illustrates the principles of 21 different art movements.

Each movement includes a cat illustrating the different characteristics of the art. Many of the cats replicate a particular painting. Though the Warhol soup cans selling “Kitty” that frame the pop art movement cat are rather ironic. Each chapter also includes a one-page summary setting the time and place plus two pages explaining how each kitty represents famous artists’ work.

Using cats to show the differences between art styles is a painless way to learn some art history. You might also get some ideas for your own art project. A History of Art in 21 Cats would make a perfect gift to the budding school-age artist. It would also spark some conversation as a coffee table book. 5 stars!

Thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: ,

Art of Being Bill
August 26th, 2018 by diane92345

Bill Murray’s movie career is explored along with various artists’ interpretations of him in numerous media in the Art of Being Bill.

Bill’s life (in movies at least) is broken up chronologically into eight chapters:

  1. The Jester
  2. The Thinker
  3. The Intense
  4. The Charming
  5. The Exasperated
  6. The Melancholy
  7. The Complex
  8. The Legend.

Each of Bill’s movies are described in a one-page movie synopsis accompanied by the movie poster and a short behind-the-scenes’ blurb. Then two to four artists offer their interpretation of Bill at that point in his life and career. Using seeds, pastels, pencils, paints and software, each picture is engaging. At the beginning, Bill was portrayed as a clown, a suave player and even a punk rocker. By the end, the representations became increasing melancholy and regretful—just as Bill appeared in his later works.

The art varies widely in media, style and quality but each are valid interpretations of their subject. The text does a excellent job exploring the experiences of an aging comic actor’s early attempts to be taken seriously (i.e., The Razor’s Edge) to actually being taken seriously later in his career (i.e., Lost in Translation). It is easy to see the same trajectory in other comedians’ lives that did not end as well (i.e., Jerry Lewis and Robin Williams). Overall, the Art of Being Bill is more than just the sum of its wide-ranging artwork and provides a thoughtful reflection on life itself. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Race Point Publishing, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Black Comix Returns
February 22nd, 2018 by diane92345

Good survey of black comic artists by the creators of Kindred.

Black Comix Returns contains a short biography and representative art from over 70 comic artists of color. Both established and emerging talents are showcased. Most of the artists have the plot of one of their comics or graphic novels summarized too. There are also short essays about being non-white and/or non-male in a white male controlled industry.

While this book would be a great gift for any comic/graphic novel fan, it is especially useful to young artists. Not only empowering to kids of color, the varying styles of art within this collection show the sheer volume of choices available to young artists. From manga to fine art to illustration to newspaper comics, the variety is impressive. Most readers will find several artists interesting enough to locate at their comic book store, local library or online.

Initially, I thought this was more of an anthology of short comics than the survey of black comic artists. I would have preferred more in depth coverage of each artist. However, I did find several artists to look into further. 4 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Lion Forge, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Non-fiction Tagged with: ,