Friday 26 April 2013

ARC April

Welcome to the April book review. I hope you have all had a good month. I was over the moon to actually meet 3 of you gorgeous bloggers at the Ally Pally show in London. I was blown away by how many people came up to say  hello, good job they did as I am so rubbish and never recognize anyone.

So my review for April.

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman

This book started pretty well, quite gripping in fact in the first 3 chapters or so. But soon after that it became boring, though only for 2-3 chapters, then the pace picked up again. This up and down feeling continued throughout the book, 2-3 really good chapters followed by 2-3 rubbish ones that were tedious and hard to get through. I found myself skipping paragraphs.

 The story builds again in the final chapters, though I felt I was going to be in for a disappointment, there just wasn't enough pages left to conclude the story..and then it ended. It was only at this point I found out that this was not a stand alone book, but that there was a sequel. I am now in a quandary, a bit loathe to buy the second book, as I really can't say I enjoyed this one. But on the other hand, I feel I have only read half the story and I want to know what happens.

As for the story itself, it is quite a harsh fantasy (no magic)and not for the faint at heart. There are some very unpleasant scenes described in great detail, involving physical violence towards young boys. To clarify , it is a 'war' setting and the boys are being trained as soldiers, but that training is quite brutal. But we do fall a little in love with the lead character, as I guess we are supposed to. We feel his pain and confusion even though he is a cold blooded killer. I was left wanting things to work out well for him, I could not begin to guess whether they do.

So, very mixed opinions on this book. I think if  I see the sequel really cheap I will get it, to see what happens, but  I am not going to go out of my way to go buy it.

My journal page..

When ever I do a project involving paint or ink i always wipe off the excess into a journal or onto scratch paper, while they may not be the right colours for the basis of a new page they do add layers. 

So the base of this is an old wipe off from a stencil and a faint image of a stamp. I added red ink to signify the bloodshed in the book, and the sand coloured criss-crossing drips for the paths the characters take thru the desert.

Next I made some ratty stencils. 

Stencilled 2 of them with black paint.

I added a chevron stencil in 2 colours, using an Andy Skinner stencil. It was quite stark so I knocked back the whole page with a translucent aqua paint. Leaving the rats uncovered.

I was a bit stuck at this point, and wasn't sure what to do next. So I added  a sunburst behind the rats, again with an Andy Skinner stencil...then a border using cream,blue and red paint..over which I added a stamped border.

My next stage was to cut a sword stencil, just from cardstock. I scraped wall filler through it and left it to dry. I wanted it distressed looking so I made sure that I did not smooth the wall filler out, but left it ridged. 

Once dry I coloured it with Treasure gold wax, then added designs stamped using Stazon ink. 

On the other page I wanted to paint a girl, but also wanted to include a map. So I sketched her out and then transferred the sketch to a book page that had a tactical map on it. 

once painted she was cut out and added to the journal, with a 3rd ratty stencilled over her.  Then I needed somewhere to hide my printed review. The pages in this book are quite thin, so after each completed page I glue it to the next page. So before doing that, punched out a finger notch and glued a small envelope between the two pages. 

Here you can see where the review just slides in..

close up of the sword texture..

the map showing through the paint on the girl..

The final page with title added..

Products used..

Adirondack spray inks


Here is where you link up, add your name and a link to the specific blog post where we can find your review and artwork. 


  1. Oh Darcy, I feel SO spoiled. Thank you again for this.

    I wish you had appreciated your book more. I can understand your frustration. It must have been hard reaching the "end" without a real "end."

    However, for all those ups and downs you felt, your pages are stunning. Very symbolic. And of course, I fell in LOVE with your stencils. I can't draw, but I sure want to learn how to make stencils like that. You did a fantastic job.

    I'm a real graphic person, so I loved the page you placed the lady on. And the fact you covered it only slightly with her face, made it even more special to me.

    Job well, well done, dear.

  2. Oh my gosh I love that mouse stencil. :) Wonderful journal page! I had a lot of books start that way and I totally hate it.

  3. Darcy, your art really reminds me of the difference between a REAL artist and me, who can only do digital art!! Your journal pages are, they make me curious about the book. It doesn'[t sound like something I'd love, but maybe.....
    Thanks for sharing the art and review!!
    xoxo 'Til next month...

  4. It is so disappointing to start a book just for it to go bad. At least it got a little better. I'm not very good at skipping pages or paragraph, I always think I will be missing the best part *sigh*

    What an amazing page. Love the map through her hair, and the sword, and the mice... okay, I love everything about it ;-)

  5. I hope that one day you come across the sequel to your book Darcy, I would imagine it could be pretty frustrating having got to the end only to find that there is more you need to know. I find with some books skipping paragraphs is the only way to reach the end without abandoning a book altogether.
    Your artwork is amazing nonetheless, I love the way you have shared its creation and the lady looks beautiful amongst the rats and the bloodshed. Your sword stands out as a strong instrument of war. Thanks as always for giving me a reason to visit so many great blogs and seeing all the reviews and great art. It was lovely to meet you at Ally Pally, I hope you found everything you were looking for off that long list you had with you. ;-)

  6. Wow after reading your review I was not expecting to see a beautiful girl on your page!!! Sounds a very traumatic book to read. Maybe it was the intensity in some pages that made the others seem so bland?....Love the ratty stencils!!!! :D XXX

  7. Cor blimey Miss Darcy - every month your pages blow my little mind :) You put so much thought and detail into them, they are brilliant! I especially love those ratties :)

    I do hope you can find a cheap copy of part 2 of your up and down story so you find out what happened to your soldier.... with any luck the sequel is better with more of the good passages and less of the filler...

    I was so disappointed not to see you at Ally Pally - you will have to go for the full weekend next time so us Sunday girls get a chance to say hi too

  8. Sorry your book was so hit and miss but your pages are wow! Love all the many layers and your art work is amazing. So inspirational. It was lovely to see you at Ally Pally, hope your day was as good as ours. Janet and I shopped til we dropped!
    Jen x

  9. Wonderful pages and I do appreciate the way you detail how you achieved the final look. Shame the book was only so-so, but you did yourself proud with the journal pages. Lovely to meet you at Ally Pally.

    Janet xx

  10. Wow wow wow wow! And just to really express myself wow! You really are so creative Darcy and these pages are so expressive and layered. You are such an inspiration. Shame the book was not brill and you are left in a quandry! So annoying when that happens!
    C xxx

  11. There is so much in this artwork, and so many layerings. Who cares about the book, your artwork is fabulous, so perhaps it was worth struggling through the book. I love your stencil of the rats.
    Not a book for me to read, even without the boring bits.

  12. RAT STENCILS AMAZING!!! How on earth do you do it? Very cool and I adore the overall pages you have created. Shame about the book will give it a wide birth lol Dxx

  13. Love this page, very pretty.

  14. Gorgeous page as always, we actually have the book upstairs on the bookshelves but it's one of hubbies, not my cup of tea!

  15. What a great idea to journal your 'reads' in this way! I like to journal poems I like. The book sounds a bit grim though! x

  16. I love how you did a art journal entry for your book review; now I am doing a V8 slap to the forehead. I am inspired! Here on journal entries instead of stand alone art pieces. Thank you for the review; I appreciate your candor and honest opinion. We are not always going to like everything we read. I had that happen to me when I read Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. It was too drawn out and detached as it went between 2 time periods. I had the sequel in my library; but, I was too disappointed to make the effort to read it. Both books went to the library donation box. ♥ Angela Orobko

  17. great spread. you are getting super good at stencils & wow! may need to "borrow" that face on a map thing - nice


  18. Loving the colors and the stencil layers...especially the angle of the woman's beautiful face...also...the sword rocks! want to reach out and touch all those yummy textures.

  19. I have left my name, but I'm not sure about where to list the books? I am really excited about joining in - thought your page was so vivid, a great illustration/response! Julie Ann x.

  20. What an amazing page!!! Such a clever idea to make the rat-stencils and I really love your girl on the map! She's so pretty! ♥
    I'm a little behind, halfway my art page now and hope I can get my blog up tomorrow. Having 6 children at home and a stomach bug didn't give me any time in the past two weeks... :(

  21. Hi Darcy i hope you are well!
    It just doesn't seem fair that you have to buy the other half of that book. You may see it on another blog and maybe you could swap ;)
    Love your lady, your art just keeps moving forward all the time. Great to catch up.

  22. I hate it when books end like that. It puts me in a bit of a strop - like the author has cheated me some how - it's not often I then go and buy the next one (which is, I'm sure, not the intended response)

    I do love your art work and so appreciate all the step by step detailing. Your stencils are amazing. Those rats are so cute (if I'm allowed to say that *g*) and the sword is just WOW!

    Haven't uploaded yet - have a feeling I'll be cutting it fine to squeeze in before next month but am reading, reading, reading while trying not to skim as it's the kind of book you really want to take it all in :)

  23. Sorry you were so frustrated by your book...but the art work is amazing and so detailed.
    Hugs xx
    p.s. I hate books that end like that too...unless I know I'm reading a which case I'm usually waiting impatiently for the next one1

  24. I think I have just entered my review - hope that's OK! I have to go out right now, but I will read the other's tonight! Thanks for letting me join in!

  25. I checked out number 29, Maria Livingstone McPail for her review, but couldn't find it, though I spent some time looking for it.

  26. Yay - I've finally linked up lol! Love your journal page - though it's a shame the book itself had a disappointing ending - I hate that. Even if it has a sequel it should still have a proper ending! x