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Wizard World: Vendor Spotlight

If you’re looking for some great artists and creators to fulfill all your geeky purchasing needs,  head into the Wizard World vendor hall and check out these amazing items!

candles

2016-03-19 15.58.28First up I found Lauren with Boonzy Arts who is based out of L.A. She has all kinds of incredible candles that smell delicious.  Her candles are inspired by her love of pop-culture which grew from her immense love of reading as a child.  Her “Wheel of Flame” candles are a unique idea she came up with and Kickstarted. Each scent can be used to
enhance your table-top gaming experience and comes with a random metal die. For instance, if your party is about to head into a cave to fight a dragon,  you can light the “Lair of the Dragon” candle to take the experience to a whole new level.  She also has pop-culture candles like “It Rubs the Lotion on It’s Skin” which smells like lotion , “Marshmallow Man” which is modeled after the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man,  and “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” which comes in a teacup! You can buy directly from her site also so make sure to check it out of you’re not in the Las Vegas area this weekend.

crafts
The next booth that caught my eye was Sara with My Faerietale because she has these 2016-03-19 16.00.05absolutely adorable pot people. She is Las Vegas based and you can only find her at conventions so make sure to come out!  She also has a love of pop-culture and a great motto of “I make what I like and I hope you like it too.” In addition to her pot people she also has an assortment of pins, magnets,  clocks and jewelry.  All the artwork is original from her daughter. Sara started at the Las Vegas Comic Expo in 2013 and now is doing between 12 and 15 conventions a year. I highly recommend stopping by her table and taking home your very own pot person.
petsI ran into Shakespeare’s Workshop (almost literally) with owner Summer Shakespeare who was absolutely delightful.  She is also based out of Las Vegas and has all sorts of 3-D prints,  custom costumes and hoodies, wigs, and the most incredible pet costumes.  She can be found on Etsy as well as on Periscope,  where you can actually watch her as she creates your custom item.   

2016-03-19 18.26.42If you’re like me and can’t leave a con without picking up a new print (or 10) to adorn your walls, make sure to check out Lisa Hall with Hallustration. She was always into Star Wars growing up and has expanded her geeky interests into anime and now comic characters.  It was through attending other conventions that she learned she could put her artistic talents to work reimagening her favorite characters in her own style. Most of the prints are in digital media, although she very much enjoys traditional art as well. If you can check her out here at Wizard World,  but if you can’t you can check out her Etsy or next weekend she will be at Salt Lake Comic Con.

2016-03-19 18.27.31

If you’re looking for a new series,  I highly recommend checking out Katie Salidas. She is from Las Vegas and currently has two full,  6 book series and a third series that is just starting out.  Chronicles of the Uprising is a Hunger Games meets Interview with the Vampire meets Gladiator.  She says that although it has vampires in it,  they’re not what you would normally think of vampires.  She also has her Immortals series which is a paranormal romance. Both of those series you can read without having to wait for the next installment! Her newest series is Pretty Little Werewolf.  The synopses for the first book begins: “All Giselle ever wanted was a family… who can accept her for what she is, a werewolf. In a world where supernatural creatures are not out and proud, this has been a problem for 16 year old Giselle. A child of the system, she’s been bounced from home to home for as long as she can remember. As soon as the moon calls out her inner wolf, it’s back into the system she goes….” you can read the rest on her website if you aren’t able to visit her this weekend.

 

Let us know what you think of these great artists and creators in the comments below!

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Book Review: ‘Food Whore’

Food Whore is a deliciously devised debut novel from author Jessica Tom. Tom’s background in the culinary world not only lends a hand but creates a fantastic entrée of intrigue and enchantment. Still, some sections of Food Whore are simply too difficult to digest. Tom’s knowledge of ingredients and the manner in which they blend and tangle with your taste buds will make you wish you had an ounce of the culinary skill of her characters. These intense descriptions of the many delights encountered in the New York City dining landscape may leave the pages of your book damp with your own ardent saliva.

FoodWhore paperback cover - finalLike any fine dining experience this one begins with hors d’oeuvres at a finely set table. Though the tablecloth is silk, the diners are rayon; well-meaning and fine to gaze upon from a distance, but not quite well refined. Tia Monroe is a prodigy with culinary dreams. She will put herself on the plate of culinary legend Helen Lansky and acquire a coveted internship. When her dreams burn on the stove, she is salvaged by feared and powerful New York Times food critic Michael Salz.

The entrée is not au maigre. Michael Salz suffers from a condition of the tongue, aguesia, which prevents him from continuing his journey into the succulent world of foie gras and entrecôte. Impressed by Monroe’s written works, Salz hires her to deceive the culinary world. Working for Salz takes Monroe on a fascinating journey through the sophisticated world she longs to dine in, but quickly learns it isn’t all flambé and macaroons.

No entrée would be complete without its side and this one is starchy. Though Monroe’s personal goals have taken a backseat to the misstep of the professional, she is still determined to create a whipped mashed yam joy. Her tenacity sometimes leads to a lumpy, gluey concoction that only her inner circle can enjoy and only the truest of her inner circle can truly critique to better her skill.

For dessert Tom serves a tarte tatin, warm and gooey with the surprising prospect of emotional response. With this full meal behind, satisfaction is inevitable. You may even need a nap from impending food coma, but for some reason you will crave another helping.

Portrait of author Jessica Tom by Liz Clayman
Portrait of author Jessica Tom by Liz Clayman

Jessica Tom is a writer and food blogger living in Brooklyn. She has worked on initiatives with restaurants, hospitality startups, food trucks, and citywide culinary programs. She graduated from Yale University with a concentration in fiction writing and wrote the restaurant review for the Yale Daily News Magazine. Food Whore is her first novel.


Food Whore

by Jessica Tom

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 27, 2015)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0062387006

ISBN-13: 978-006238700

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‘Face Off’ Ep 4: Frightful Fiction

This weeks episode picks up where the 100th left off and we finally found out who is going home. It is between Missy, Jason, Nora, and Meg. The judges decide that because of terrible anatomy and muddy paint Missy is the one who will be headed home.

Mckenzie announces that, for the first time ever, there will be no foundation or spotlight challenge, but instead they will be doing a focus challenge. The focus challenge is similar to a spotlight challenge but it forces the artists to focus on the face and will only have 2 days to complete so their edges, blends, and makeup must be flawless. For their first focus challenge and individual challenge they will be diving into the very popular mash-up of literature and horror along the vein of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Their choices this week are:

The Legend of King Arthur and his Undead Knights; chosen by Kevon and Ben

The Scarlet Letter: Puritan Poltergeist; chosen by Jason and Meg

Great Expectation of a Serial Killer; chosen only by Brittany

Gulliver’s Travels in the Underworld; chosen by Jordan and Nora

Don Quixote: Monster of La Mancha; chosen by Scott and Stevie

The Exorcism of Monte Cristo; chosen by Ricky and Libby

Sherlock Holmes: Bloodsucker; chosen by Jasmine and Evan

The two days pass quickly and some of the artists have major struggles with concept and execution. Brittany attempts an old age and burn makeup despite Michael Westmore’s advice to scrap the old age part. Jason has to walk away from his sculpt due to design problems before eventually returning and finishing it. Stevie is most worried about her paint since she admits to not being very strong in that area and Meg struggles the whole time with her paint taking on a weird texture and being way too purple.

When the artists get to the reveal stage they see that an additional judge has joined this week. Lois Burwell (from previous seasons) joins Glenn, Ve and Neville at the judges table. When the judges take a closer look, Lois comments that Brittany’s sculpt and paint remind her of a stucco wall and Ve then adds that Meg’s is like concrete. Jasmine’s is last to be looked at and Glenn loves it right away.

Kevon, Ben, Jordan, Nora, Ricky, Libby, and Evan are all safe this week and head back to the makeup room. That leaves Jason, Meg and Brittany as the bottom looks and Scott, Jasmine, and and a not-confident-enough Stevie as the judges favorites. Scott takes overall (and I couldn’t agree more – his attention to the monster’s face and overall anatomy is spectacular).

I thought for sure that Meg was going home this week, but in the end it was Brittany that the judges decided just wasn’t focused enough for the challenge presented to her.

Who were your favorite looks and do you agree with the judges?

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Book Review: The Glass Gauntlet by Carter Roy

“I’m not my father’s biggest fan. Not just because he ordered a flunky to kill me the last time I saw him…And not because of his secret identity as the head of the Bend Sinister…All of that is bad enough, but even worse? He stole a person’s soul.”
The Glass GauntletThe Glass Gauntlet picks up where The Blood Guard (Book #1) leaves off. Ronan, Greta, Sammy and Dawkins are dodging the Bend Sinister, finding new places to hide and clever ways to communicate. A piece in a chapter about communicating through an abandoned massively multiplayer online game (MMO) stole my nerdy heart.
Some of the best moments in the book are the attention to detail. Though I don’t care for Dawkins, I do find it amusing that he wore a YOLO T-shirt with the last “O” crossed out. There is a mention of Minecraft, a phenomenon amongst children (and adults), which made me appreciate Roy’s knowledge of his audience.
Unlike the first book of the series, high octane action transpires near the beginning after only minimal exposition. This structural shift is complete when the children, Ronan, Greta and Sammy, are enrolled in a school to test their intelligence. This is where it gets a little boring. The chapters seem to drag on a little bit. Admittedly the results of this school are predictable and throw the kids into a Maze Runner-like situation.
The dialogue and exposition are simple, even for the elementary grade levels. The characters don’t exhibit any development. These characters could actually be the same archetypes from the first few chapters of the first book and Sammy may as well not even have existed. Despite these critiques, the overall story is enjoyable for its target audience. If you or your little ones are looking for something very quick and fun to read, this is that book.

Carter Roy author photo credit JDZ Photography
Carter Roy author photo credit JDZ Photography

Carter Roy lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, a spiky cat, and far too many books. Visit www.carterroy.com or follow him on Twitter: @CarterRoyBooks


The Glass Gauntlett
Author: Carter Roy
Age Range: 10 – 14 year
Grade Level: 4th – 8th
Series: The Blood Guard Series (Book 2)
Hardcover: 261 pages
Publisher: Two Lions (August 18, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1477826262
ISBN-13: 978-1477826263

 

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Review: The Shadow Cabinet

I am pleased to find myself reviewing a book by one of my favorite, if not much-read authors, Maureen Johnson. I read her Suite Scarlett when it first came out and found myself picking it up even when I only had a few moments to spare to read a quarter of a page; it was really that good. And The Shadow Cabinet, book three of The Shades of London series, follows in the same wonderful way.

The Shadow Cabinet opens with a scene that sets the tone for rest of the story. Everything that our heroes have faced thus far has been daunting, but now it’s gotten serious — so serious that even one of our main villains is having a few second thoughts. By mid-book I found myself reading double-quick trying to scoop in and process all the information that pours forth onto our characters. By the end I was audibly groaning quietly with the stain of claustrophobia and foreboding that final battles often bring.

One thing that roped me into The Shadow Cabinet was Johnson’s gorgeous attention to detail, the ability to make interesting the mundane. Hair dye never seemed so harrowing, yogurt never seemed so frantic. If you’ve ever been in shock after a life-altering event you might remember how lights are more glaring and everything is poignant yet distant. Johnson magically captures these sublime emotions and draws you into the room where the strain is absolutely palpable.

The_Shadow_Cabinet_Cover

What I think I like best about Rory, Johnson’s lead heroine and newly-made terminus, is that her life is just one damned thing after another with some occult thrown in to make it extra spicy. Yes, in a book called The Shadow Cabinet, the occult is a major theme. But Johnson doesn’t forget that her main character is a young woman who is experiencing love, loss, and adventure. And for all the excitement magic can bring, the stress of just getting through a day in the life of a teenager can be challenging enough! Rory is very real to me, with all her awkwardness and worries, as she musters strength from the dregs of her reserves.

In the end I just want to sit down with Rory and give her a cup of tea and a biscuit and put the poor kid to bed. I think that’s one of the issues I have with YA fiction: everyone is living a life that is improbably too interesting for their age group. But then again, that’s the fun of it, to imagine ruby chalices and silver knives, to drive off in speeding cars to avoid the villain, and to face down evil and survive.

The Shadow Cabinet is good adventure, laced with ghosts and magic, and trimmed with cloaks and daggers. Although the series is rated for ages 12 and over, the “and over” crowd will definitely find it a fun read as well.

The Shadow Cabinet
by Maureen Johnson
Penguin Young Readers
Hardcover: $17.99

Available at Amazon.

MJB_01-about-photoMaureen Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of more than ten young-adult novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, The Last Little Blue Envelope, Devilish, The Bermudez Triangle, Let It Snow, and Suite Scarlett. Her work is published in twenty-one languages. Maureen spends a great deal of time online, earning her some dubious and some not-as-dubious commendations, such as being named one of Time Magazine’s top 140 people to follow on Twitter. Outside of YA, she worked with Electronic Arts as the screenwriter for the handheld versions of the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince video game. She holds an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and divides her time between her home in New York City and a mysterious dwelling outside of London. You can find her online at www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com or on Twitter as @maureenjohnson.

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