The Adventurer's Guild, By Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos

The Adventurers Guild
by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos

“A dazzling adventure sure to become a classic, if not a movie.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"It wasn't that Brock had no faith in the fox charm. But there was the luck you got, and the luck you made, and a smart man bet only on the latter."  

Filled with dwarfs, elves, witches and warlocks, and people with fantastical abilities, this story is magical in every way possible. The writing is impeccable and brings the readers along in a fast paced adventure where the stakes are high and the characters are engaging. I found the story compelling and immersive. Each character brings unique and complex authenticity to the story. Reading from the unique perspective of Zed and Brock showed their motives and values in a way that made made me want to turn the page. I can't wait to see how they evolve and change as the series progresses. I highly recommend this book to fans of Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Septimus Heap.

*I received a copy of this book from Disney Hyperion in exchange for an honest review.

Interview of Gifted Artist Brittany Soucy + an Art Class GIVEAWAY!



When Brittany Soucy and I first met, we realized that we had the same due date for our now 16 year old boys. Brittany's authentic and inspired art make her a remarkable friend and teacher. I'm thrilled to feature her here and learn more about her creative process!

Kirsti Call: What inspires you to create?

Brittany Soucy: That’s hard to answer because for as long as I can remember, the desire to create has just been an intrinsic part of me.  I’ve never questioned it. I just move through life with that need.   I love to surround myself with beauty and search for beauty in the natural world.  I find the search for beauty and light so inspiring.  It can be the way the light moves through the leaves on trees or an expression on someone’s face when they look at a loved one.  I don’t always express that desire in the form of paint or pencils, but also with food and song and words or whatever is available in that moment!

KC: When did you decide to become a professional artist?

BS:I think I may have come with that desire; I can’t remember a time when I didn’t tell people that when I grew up I was going to be an artist.  I spent hours drawing as a child.  However, after studying fine art in school, I felt less like an artist than at any other time in my life.  For the first time, I questioned that desire and whether I was good enough.  I became a mother and wanted to spend my time and energy on my children. Soon, though, the desire to paint was overwhelming.  I started creating in any way I could, and before I  knew it, my children were introducing me to their friends as an artist.  It was my children who gave me the confidence to claim the title and I knew that as they grew and became more independent, I would pick up where I left off.



KC: What’s your favorite part of making art for a living?


BS: I’m not one to pick favorites—I have too many!  I love that my job is to search for beauty and do my best to express that beauty.  I love that I feel divinely guided and that I can nurture that connection in my career.  I love that I get to walk barefoot to my studio and when I open the doors, the smell of art supplies makes me happy.  It’s such a great feeling when I get into the flow and time stands still.  I feel lucky and blessed that my career is meditative and fills me with peace.




KC: What’s your least favorite part of making art for a living?


BS: The business and marketing aspect does not come naturally to me at all and causes much anguish!  I wish I could just spend all my time creating and not have to worry about the rest, but I guess that’s what makes it “work.”


KC: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?


BS: Be true to yourself.  I think we get the message that we should aspire to be like This Artist or That Artist, but the world doesn’t need more of the same--the world needs us each to be our best and truest selves.  Another important piece of advice is to stay curious and take workshops and classes with people who you admire.  It has helped me grow so much to learn from other artists and see their process of creativity.  I plan on always continuing my education in whatever field sparks my curiosity.

Thanks Brittany!  Brittany is teaching an on-line art journaling course.  For you chance to win the course for FREE,  comment below.  If you share on twitter or FB you will get another entry.  Early registration ends soon! To learn more click here!



Brittany lives on the seacoast of New Hampshire. (Yes, that exists and it’s beautiful.)  She's grateful that all she has to do is walk across the yard to go to work in her 200 year old barn-studio.   It’s like the dream of her childhood and the wish of her heart have come true.

She makes art because it has always felt like a natural way to process her world.  She finds herself searching for beauty and craving to find interesting and nourishing ways to express it.  She is captivated by light and how its warmth, healing and truth illuminate everything it touches.

She believes that setting aside time for making and appreciating art is an act of self care.  She now understands that the process of art making is an important balm that propels us toward healing.  When she was younger she worried that being creative and artistic was a useless talent to have, but now she considers it both a pleasure and a sacred responsibility. 

Bruce's Big Move, by Ryan T. Higgins!




I have a special place in my heart for Mother Bruce, by Ryan T. Higgins.  This summer one of my chickens was determined to become a mother.   We couldn't coax her to leave her eggs for weeks. Our lack of a rooster and the impossibility of those eggs actually hatching didn't concern her.  

Finally, we bought two chicks, and snuck them underneath her at night.  In the morning, she awoke to the babies she had been waiting for!  She has happily adopted, protected, and mothered them ever since. In Mother Bruce, a curmudgeonly bear adopts four goslings in a similarly endearing way.  


The second in the seriesHotel Bruce, shows how just when things can't get any worse, they do! Not only must Bruce raise goslings, but a fox, a possum and three mice also move in! Grumpy Bruce doesn't like this one bit!  The chaos is funny and makes us relate to and love Bruce despite his surliness. 

Bruce's Big Move, is the perfect third installment of the series. Bruce shows what he's willing to do for some peace and quiet alone with his four goslings! But three mice live with them and no matter what he does, they won't leave. In fact, they always mistake the words: "GET OUT!" for a friendly suggestion that they play outside! When Bruce moves to a new house, the goslings are unhappy. Bruce does everything he can to cheer them up--but only the return of the mice can do that! 


Bruce's gruff exterior hides a soft heart and the fact that the mice understand who he really is, makes this book charming and re-readable. The bright and expressive illustrations create compelling page turns. The humor makes kids and adults laugh and discuss issues of younger siblings, messes, and what it means to be a family. I highly recommend this book for readers of all ages!


*I received a copy of this book from Disney Hyperion in exchange for an honest review.

Review of Twelve Days in May; Freedom Ride 1961 by Larry Dane Brimmner

I just watched the documentary, I'M NOT YOUR NEGRO and this book was the perfect companion to that powerful movie about racial discrimination. 

Twelve Days in May; Freedom Ride 1961, by Larry Dane Brimner, beautifully describes the events of the 1961 Freedom ride. Filled with real pictures and real facts, the story is interspersed with words that are larger and emphasized. 


INTEGRATION. 
JAIL. NO BAIL. 
KEEP THE RACES APART. 
KEEP THEM SEPARATE. 




This book has shorter chapters to keep middle graders interested and engaged. I learned so much about the Freedom Ride. This is an important book for readers of all ages.