Shark Week Blogiversary – Saturday

Isle of Jaws: Blood Brothers –

This is an interesting episode in terms of shark behavior. Great Whites give birth to live young, and so it is entirely possible that they may choose to spend their lives with their siblings. I felt a bit cheated by the discovery that both sharks had already been tagged and had their DNA sampled, but the results not stated in the show.

Andrew Mayne: Ghost Diver –

While interesting, I didn’t really enjoy this episode. I found the premise intriguing. My issue was the main focus of the show, Andrew Mayne. He struck me as someone more interested in the gimmick of an electric suit, not the actual sharks. Still, the episode was great about showing the trial and error process of experimentation and invention.

I Was Prey: Shark Week –

This was the most emotional of all the Shark Week episodes, following two shark attack survivors as they recount their experiences. I was impressed by both survivors’ attitudes. They don’t blame the sharks for doing what they naturally do, and still make a point of going back to the ocean. I was impressed by the warnings at the beginning of the episode, letting people know the graphic nature of the images shown. Even then, the photos of the actual injuries were blurred.

Today’s review is a little bit different. It is a self-review, or an explanation of why I am such a shark nut.

I’ve always been a water-child. I am the daughter of a Navy man, and so most of my early memories involve being around the ocean. I remember hunting sand dollars and playing in tide pools, and visiting aquariums.

I loved dolphins and whales, but the movie Free Willy cemented my love of Orcas. I was obsessed. I wanted to study Marine Biology as an adult. I wanted to work with Orcas. When I was 10, my parents gave me the National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Marine Mammals.

81IQvVUuQ0L._SL1500_
I still have this!!

I focused all my studies to this goal, and while I did well in High School, College Maths and I did not agree. Between my math struggles and the fact that I had some family members disparaging my passion because “It wasn’t a money-making career.”, I floundered a while. I ended up not finishing college for other reasons and moved on with my life.

I still loved marine animals, but the increasing presence of the internet made clear that Orcas in captivity was not humane. I found the yearly ritual of watching Shark Week and visiting my local aquariums fed my interests. When the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) installed a Shark Touch Tank , I was hooked! I held my hand in the water and was brushed by a Cownose ray and a Cat shark(I honestly can’t call it petting….). The passion was back!

I read tons of nonfiction on Marine life in general and sharks in particular. I follow sharks tagged by Ocearch on Facebook and Twitter, and a ton of shark scientists. I advocate as much as I can for all marine life (except the invasive species), because my dream was deferred, and now I’m living with a disability that makes achieving it nigh impossible.

So I make new dreams, achievable ones. I dream of being able to rent a wheelchair and spend a day at the Georgia Aquarium(Atlanta, Georgia) so I can see a whale shark with my own eyes.  I dream of being well on the days NOAA and Ocearch scientists are giving lectures in my town so I can go see them. I dream of being well enough to volunteer doing data entry on sharks. I dream of being such a weird and wonderful shark fan that I can convince plush makers to design me a Wobbegong plushie (okay..I know this one is really left field, but I still want it to happen.)

Want a chance to win your own Shark puzzle? Giveaway Link: Here!

Disclosure:  The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them. Photo By Warren Tyrer via StockPholio.net

 

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

 

Advertisements

Shark Week Blogiversary – Friday

Return to Shark Island

This episode was both interesting and problematic for me. I understand that reunion Island is having a higher than normal spike of fatal shark encounters; but at the same time, humans are in the water, which is where sharks live. The CRA Shark Protection Program is a great idea, as previously the government had sanctioned shark culling. CRA and Dr. Craig O’Connell implemented a new shark deterrent system, so we will most likely have another Shark island episode in next year’s Shark Week. This episode highlights the fact that it takes TIME to find solutions to problems.

Great White Kill Zone: Guadalupe –

I won’t lie, I’ve been a huge fan of Melissa Marquez’s ever since last year’s Shark Week. Lady got bitten by a crocodile doing shark research and kept going! This episode shows the fact that Great Whites can and do adapt their hunting strategies to their environment. While the title of the show is sensationalist, it is interesting that due to the unique geography of Guadalupe Island the sharks have to change their usual behavior in order to be successful. Dr. Yannis Papastamatiou has a wonderful way of explaining things to the layman shark enthusiast.

Monster Mako: Perfect Predator –

Another slightly problematic episode for me. I dislike the use of the term of “grander” Mako to describe the larger end of the Mako shark size spectrum. No other shark species has this designation. Some of the behavior of the crew is incredibly dangerous and immature when filming the Mako’s behavior. I honestly can’t tell what is natural behavior and what is baited behavior. I did like seeing Spinner Sharks and the cinematography was excellent. Focusing on a species other than Great Whites and Bull Sharks was gratifying.

Want a chance to win your own Shark puzzle? Giveaway Link: Here!

Today’s review is MindWare’s Color by Number Color Counts: Glitter Under the Sea. IMG_6197This is the other side to MindWare’s Mystery Mosaic Series of color by number books. Color Counts are done in a stained glass style, with larger coloring areas and an easy to see design. Like the Mystery Mosaics, Color counts features both 22 8×11 pictures as well as 8 double-fold 15×11 pages.

IMG_6201
Double-fold page, uncolored.

All of the pages are perforated, which makes removal easy. But, the best part, in my mind, is the fact that unlike Mystery Mosaics, Color Counts has duplicate images without the numbers! It is absolutely possible to color the same image twice, once using the numbers, and once by using your imagination!

IMG_6213
Numbered page colored by me, Unnumbered page colored by Hime, age 10. Both images colored by using MindWare’s Colored Pencils Set.

While you will get excellent results using MindWare’s Colored Pencil Set, if you like Markers or crayons, it is totally possible to make great art! Every colorist has their preferences, and all are good, so long as you enjoy what you are doing!

IMG_6211
Colored by Little-Big, using colored pencils
IMG_6209
Colored by me using Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.

You did see that the title of the book is Glitter Under the Sea? The other nifty thing about this coloring book is that it comes with a tube of sparkle glitter glue. You can choose to use it or not on your images, but all of the numbered pages have sections where the number is followed by an asterisk(*). These let you know where to add sparkle!IMG_6204IMG_6206

I really think adding the glue made my pictures pop! IMG_6203

Disability Notes: Color Counts is a fantastic coloring book series to add to any colorist’s collection. The thick lines of the stained glass styling are forgiving of erroneous lines due to hand or eye issues. The larger coloring areas are just the right size for comfortable coloring, without over-stressing my hands. I find coloring CBN reduces my anxiety and relaxes me.

Where to buy: Color by Number Color Counts: Glitter Under the Sea and the 36 Colored Pencils Tin are available on the MindWare website. The book is $8.95 USD and the pencils are $19.99 USD. MindWare has tons of other Color Counts books are well as other coloring and activity books, so you’re sure to find something for nearly every taste!

MindWare : Website / FaceBook 

Disclosure: I received this coloring book for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©2019 MindWare Corporation. The coloring is mine. All links are direct; I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Shark Week Blogiversary – Thursday

Hey guys, no review today as I’m out testing a sunscreen for a later review. It gives me a chance to take Hime and Bug to the pool and let them play “Baby Shark”. I’d take them to the beach, because Shark Week is all about not being afraid of sharks and water, but our area has a flesh-eating bacteria warning and that is a hard NO in my mind.

Extinct or Alive: The Lost Shark

This is amazing! The fact that the Pondicherry Shark hadn’t been seen since the 1970s, and yet sightings have been reported is intriguing. The methodology and science is valid, and well explained. The fact that Pondicherry Sharks can be mistaken for juvenile Bull Sharks and have the same fresh water tolerances means that they have been hiding under the radar all this time. While I’m disappointed that the team could not catch a live Pondicherry Shark, the fresh carcass from the fish market at least provides scientists a specimen to study. I for one, am thrilled to add the Pondicherry Shark to the list of Lazarus Species.

Capsized: Blood in the Water 

This was Discovery Channel’s first Feature-length film for Shark Week and based on a true story. While mildly exaggerated(Hollywood, ya know?), the main plot points are all there. I’m not going to spoil the movie, as I rather liked it. My only real complaint was that because the events took place in 1982, the sharks were very much the villains according to the script. Also, so much over-the-top dramatic music!

Want a chance to win your own Shark puzzle? Giveaway Link: Here!

Disclosure:  The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Shark Week Blogiversary – Wednesday

Sharkwrecked: Crash Landing

This episode was interesting, if unnecessary in my mind. Simulating a plane wreck/shipwreck to show the predatory behaviors of sharks and the dangers of dehydration was dangerous enough; but the experiment was flawed by the necessity of having safety equipment and health drops.

Laws of Jaws: Dangerous Waters

These experiments were fantastic! I like the challenging of Shark myths using the scientific method. Hime, my younger sister was absolutely fascinated by the concept of proving or disproving commonly held beliefs.

Air Jaws Strikes Back

Great episode! I had been concerned about how the Great Whites would react to the fact that their favorite seal hunting spot had been invaded by orcas hunting THEM. Finding a new area had been selected and was inhabited by both seals and juvenile sharks was gratifying. The use of drones to film was inspired!

Want a chance to win your own Shark puzzle? Giveaway Link: Here!

IMG_6188

On to today’s review! I won’t lie, this book is one I have been desperate to read. I love fairytale retellings and gothic horror/Lovecraftian horror is a guilty pleasure of mine. House of Salt and Sorrows is entirely satisfying on both fronts!

A little background story here: I received this book as part of a Goodreads promotional giveaway held by the publisher, Penguin Random House. I had no idea when the ARC was due to arrive. It showed up on the only day we had torrential rains in fortnight’s worth of hellishly hot days. IMG_E6125IMG_6127IMG_E6126My book was soaked!!

Thankfully, SC is the king of Macguyver hacks and had me layer the wet pages with paper towels and press the book under a heavy tote before I left for a con. While I was gone, he removed the towels and put the book back under pressure to keep the pages from curling. IMG_6189IMG_6194It worked!!

To explain why I’m so excited by this book, here is the blurb from the back of the book:

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

I won’t lie, I devoured this book. I literally cover to cover read it in a little under 3 hours in one sitting. Not to say that it is an easy read… Just because House of Salt and Sorrows(HOSAS for short) is labeled as YA, that doesn’t mean that the themes are not just as complex and compelling as adult fiction.

We meet Annaleigh at the funeral of her fourth sister, Eulalie. This is the fifth death in six years for the Thaumas family, and once again plunges the family back into the cycle of a year of mourning. The problem is, human beings aren’t built to mourn constantly for years on end, and while the youngest sisters literally have never not known anything but, the older sisters have started to chafe. When their new Stepmother chooses to announce her pregnancy and throw off mourning for the household, most of the girls are eager to embrace reasons to celebrate.

But the rumors of a curse upon the House of Thaumas makes finding a beau impossible; and when the girls find a portal that transports them to a series of endless balls, the girls jump at the chance. But Annaleigh has been plagued by the thought that Eulalie’s death wasn’t an accident and has been having visions and frights featuring the ghosts of her dead sisters. She finds herself increasingly conflicted between her need to find out what has happened to her family and her growing attraction to Cassius, the bastard son of one of her father’s sea captains.

HOSAS is full of wonderful themes of family, love and loss. Seeing the story unfold through Annaleigh’s eyes makes it all feel that much more real. The eventual reveal is both shocking and yet, it explains everything. Honestly, HOSAS is an amazing story. The twists and turns make an old familiar fairytale feel new, and the pacing leaves you on the edge of your seat! I’m thrilled to review this debut novel, and look forward to what Erin writes next!

  • Title: House of Salt and Sorrows
  • Author: Erin A. Craig
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press/ Penguin Random House
  • Released: August 6th, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Format: Trade ARC
  • Pages: 416
About the Author:
Erin A. Craig

Erin A. Craig has always loved telling stories.

After getting her B.F.A. from the University of Michigan, in Theatre Design and Production, she stage managed tragic operas with hunchbacks, séances, and murderous clowns, then decided she wanted to write books that were just as spooky.

An avid reader, a decent quilter, rabid basketball fan, and collector of typewriters, Erin makes her home in Memphis, TN with her husband and daughter.

For more information on Erin and her book, visit www.erinacraig.com or follow her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.
Where to buy:
House of Salt and Sorrows will be available August 6th on Amazon in hardcover,Kindle and audiobook. The hardcover will retail for $18.99 USD.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary book from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Shark Week Blogiversary – Tuesday

Sharks of the Badlands-

I rather liked this episode, but thought the title misleading. The trial and error aspect of finding a working solution for the problem of keeping humans in the water safe from the sharks that live there was well represented. I’m glad that the scientists in questions opted for a preventative solution, rather than a reactionary one.

Legend of the Deep Blue-

This episode was iffy for me. I thought the plot was amorphous, and not well defined. While the shark known as Deep Blue is one of the largest ever tagged, she isn’t the only large shark in the ocean, and finding her without tag data is like looking for a needle in a haystack. As the scientists I follow on Twitter noted, scars do heal, so they are not reliable identifiers after several years. DNA is the only way to be sure. That being said, the episode was fun and had amazing shark cage footage!

The Sharks of Headstone Hell-

So many tiger sharks! Another great shark episode with a great explanation of both the history of the area and the current events impacting both locals and the shark population. Hopefully, now that it is known that the area around Norkolk Island is a tiger shark hotspot it can be designated as a protected area.

IMG_6130

Today’s puzzle is a fun one! Ravensburger’s Smiling Sharks is a puzzle I’ve been hoarding for months, waiting for Shark Week. It is a part of Ravensburger’s Perfect Age Fit series, which features graduated piece sizes for young puzzlers. As a puzzler with hand issues due to arthritis and nerve problems, I really wanted to test these puzzles out. s-l1600

Smiling Sharks is a 300XXL puzzle, which is the smallest piece size in the series. I found the pieces to be comfortable in my hands, and the thick chipboard satisfyingly heavy.

IMG_6153

The border was the easiest part of this image.

IMG_6158

I love the fact that each shark in this puzzle has a different face and personality! Ravensburger is known for quality puzzles, and the attention to detail is  one of the reasons why!

IMG_6159
I adore this little fish!
IMG_6155
Look at their smiles!

Overall, a great puzzle! The image is challenging without being overwhelming. Little-Big and I had a nice afternoon puzzling. Shark Week and puzzles go together!

Want a chance to win your own Shark puzzle? Giveaway Link: Here!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Ravensburger
  • Title: Smiling Sharks
  • Artist: Howard Robinson
  • Year released: 2017
  • Pieces: 300XXL
  • Cut-Style: Grid
  • Finished size: 19 x 14 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in Germany

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy but lightweight, 13 x 9 x 1½ inches, Linen finish
  • Board: Extra thick chipboard
  • Cut: Cut with a steelcut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Linen matte
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: 2 different shapes that repeat, Large size for easy handling
  • Piece Fit: Excellent! Great snap and I could move multiple pieces easily

Disability Notes: The 300XXL size puzzle pieces are a great size for a person with hand issues, or a short attention span. The pieces are sturdy and wellmade.

Where to buy: Smiling Sharks 300 XXL Puzzle is available on the Ravensburger website for $14.99 USD.

Ravensburger Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Shark Week Blogiversary-Monday

I’m tired from traveling home from DC, but I had this sweet little puzzle by Ceaco and the first two episodes of Shark Week 31.

Expedition Unknown: Megalodon 

I’ll admit that I enjoy Josh Gates’s Expedition Unknown series. I found this episode to be both funny and informative, and SC and I loved all the movie references! It was a great mix of shark science and entertainment, while making no bones of the fact that Megalodon is extinct. The “can I lick science” moment was hilarious, and the explanations of the current theory behind the possible why of Megalodon’s extinction were well done.

Shark Trip: Eat. Prey. Chum

Ugh. I’m not going to mince words here. I despised this show. Rob Riggle and his friends are actors, and you cannot convince me that they knew EXACTLY what the script entailed. That being said, the writers of this particular episode need to go back for sensitivity training. Rob’s bullying and toxic masculinity for the sake of cheap laughs and Anthony Anderson’s over-the-top screaming and flailing were not funny. I watch Shark Week for sharks and shark science, not to watch actors act like jerks and spread shark fear.

IMG_6128

I had a devil of a time trying to find this puzzle! I’d seen it in my local Walmart months ago, but hadn’t bought it at the time. When it got closer to July, I started to panic because I could no longer find it! I trolled through every Walmart I went into looking for it! Thankfully, I found it in NH while camping.

IMG_6133 At 100 pieces, this isn’t meant to be a difficult puzzle. Normally,  puzzles of this size are marketed to children, but I’ve found that they are fantastic for bad hand days.

IMG_6136 My sister Little-Big has recently moved in with us, and she helped me assemble this puzzle.

IMG_6140

I found this image of a Great White swimming through a set of presumably Megalodon jaws perfect to start my Shark Week!

IMG_6161 This puzzle is part of Ceaco’s glow line, so SC pulled out the black light for this pic!IMG_6160

It glows!!!

IMG_6142

Here is the puzzle in all it’s sharky glory!

Giveaway Link: Here!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Ceaco
  • Title: Under Sea Glow – Great White Delight
  • Artist: Jerry LoFaro
  • Year released: 2016
  • Pieces: 100
  • Cut-Style: Grid
  • Finished size: 15″ x 11″ inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy but lightweight, 6x6x2 inches
  • Board: Medium thickness, chipboard
  • Cut: Cut with a steelcut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Semi-gloss with glow in the dark lines
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: 4 different shapes that repeat, Large size for easy handling
  • Piece Fit: Good,I could move small sections of 2-4 pieces

Disability Notes: This is a great puzzle for people with hand or eye issues. The image is clear and the pieces easy to handle. A quick small puzzle, it fits well on a lapdesk or puzzle board.

Where to buy: Under Sea Glow – Great White Delight Puzzle is available on the Ceaco website for $6.99 USD. It can also be found at certain Walmart stores.

Ceaco Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I purchased this puzzle for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Shark Week Blogiversary!! One Year of PuzzlePaws. Giveaway inside!

Last year I started this Blog on July 28th by watching Shark Week and assembling a Shark Puzzle by EuroGraphics.  It started as a way to write about my hobbies as I battle my chronic illness; but has morphed into a way to fight for the much needed recognition for people with invisable illnesses amongst the big names in the toy/hobby industries.

I’m watching Shark Week via Amazon Video this year, so each day’s post will include my thoughts on the episodes from the previous night.  Each day’s post will also feature a different shark or ocean themed review!

For my first every Blogiversary, I reached out to Eurographics. They sent me two puzzles to give away to my followers!

Prize 1 is a copy of my first ever review puzzle, 1000 piece Sharks!

6000-0079

Prize 2 is is a copy of the same Sharks puzzle in 100 pieces, along with a copy of Mindware’s Color Counts Glitter Under the Sea.

To enter the giveaway, click on the Rafflecopter link!

 

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Little pieces make a bigger picture