Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Creative Print House Experience

What‘s up, Comic Towel readers?  I’m here to spread the word about another custom print-on-demand site you can visit online to have your drawings, photos and images printed on items such as phone cases, coffee mugs and tablet cases.  I was given the opportunity to review Creative Print House a couple of weeks ago when a representative from the company reached out after seeing–what I presume–my video reviewing products I received from other custom printing companies.  Considering I featured phone cases in the video, it was decided that I would receive three to review.  First, let me walk you a little through the creating process I took.

Phone Case & Options

I decided to choose three styles of phone cases; iPhone 6 Plus (5.5 inch) White Rubber Case, IPhone 6 (4.7 inch) Clear Rubber Case and Samsung Note 3 (5.7 inch) Black Rubber Case. Rubber cases are more durable than the options of plastic cases and wrap-around cases.  They're also kind of a blend of the two at the same time. Nevertheless, it should be said that not all case options are given to whichever type of phone you own. Therefore, some selections don't have the option of a rubber case. Luckily, each of the three that I chose had the rubber case option.  

You can also choose the color of your case, between black, clear and white options. These three colors aren't as extensive as a past mentioned custom print shop.  Nonetheless, the cases not only protect the phone (which I found CPH's protection better), but also provides the personalization you're looking for.  That's all the combination you need.

Also, I chose this image [above] to show both the prices (most cases range from $25 to $34) and the option to view a short video that showcases the actual cases. There's also an option to read and write your own review of the product.  

I found progressing through Creative Print House to be simple, intuitive and easy.  Not once did I feel overwhelmed with the selection process nor the designing.

Creating & Customizations

The design system is the fun part! You're taking your images and placing them on products; both personalizing and expressing who you are!  I wanted to share the above screenshot to show you how simple the process of customizing your phone case can be, as well as the available options to further the customization experience. 

Besides simply stamping your images on products, you also have the customization tools necessary to rotate an image to your preference, zoom your image, and control the space your image should contain on the item. As always, I filled the phone case with the image, removing all negative space. 

Additionally, available is the TEXT tool. Of course, I applied “Comic Towel” to the image, guiding its size by the scale tool before I changed the font and alignment of the text. Furthermore, there is the option of changing the text’s color and even its outline.  Really easy, really quick.  And another thing I noticed, I didn't have any difficulty with loading the image.  There was no need to create a file for collecting your images, it was all very streamline from your computer to the site.


As it’s mentioned on Creative Print House, the images are printed in HD on an aluminum plate that’s attached to the actual rubber case. Unfortunately, that aluminum plate covers the speaker grill, and I have yet to test whether this is ineffectual or not. Nonetheless, concerning the image itself, I will say that I immediately noticed that it has lost some definition. Fine lines, tones, and darkened areas seem slightly blurred and faded.  It almost appeared as if the ink ran close to dry.  You probably can't tell from the snapshot, but in person, it's evident. Whether it's an issue with scaling the image too large (pixel count), the transference to the aluminum plating, or my own digital image, I can't be sure. I still think it came out beautifully, just not as sharp as I anticipated as it relates to the actual drawing [SEE HERE]. This, by the way, is featured on the Samsung Note 3 black rubber case.

This image is featured on the iPhone 6 clear case.  In this instance, the fine lines and definition came out sharper than the previous.  It still has a touch of fadedness, but the difference is that it didn't come across as a slight blur.  The image is a lot sharper.  To see the image click HERE.

I think that out of the three, this one came out the best.  Maybe it’s the available size, considering it's for the iPhone 6 Plus.  Maybe it’s the white case.  Whatever the cause, the end result was a lot more vivid and defined than the previous two.  To see the image click HERE  

I want to say that Creative Print House is best for those who are looking to create fun, personal photos and such printed on the available merchandise to share with friends and family.  As it continues to grow, that will change.  But as of now, if you want a deal on designing and personalizing your new tablet or cell phone case, this is the place where you need to be.  The process really was easy, and I got my items less than a week after I ordered them. 

You Decide

  • There isn't an option to create your own store featuring your designs on merchandise

  • There is an affiliate program which requires approval as well as your account email and password

  • Only 4 merchandising options: phone cases, tablet cases, mugs, and coasters (various styles in each)

  • A little less expensive than Zazzle and Cafepress, and shipping is free for orders over $25

  • Offers discounts and percentages off orders

  • Easier design options; simple and never too complicated to use

  • 30-day return policy and customer service available via phone and email

A super special thanks to Creative Print House for the opportunity.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Flash Afterthoughts: Playing My Mother's Blues

"Dani Carter was seven years old–her sister, Rose, seventeen–when their beautiful, impetuous mother, Maria, walked out of their lives, abandoning her husband and family for a love affair that would end tragically mere months later.  Now, after decades Dani's own loveless marriage is faltering–propelling her into the arms of another and inspiring troubling thoughts of escape from her husband and beloved young son.

Dani fears the sins of the mother have been visited upon the daughter.  And, unlike Rose, who never speaks of their lost parent, Dani can't help but wonder who Maria really was.  It's a puzzle that may soon be solved because, in a time of emotional and physical chaos, Maria, calling herself Mariah, is about to re-enter her daughters' worlds–bearing secrets and bitter truths... and, perhaps, long-awaited answers."

Playing My Mother’s Blues by Valerie Wilson Wesley was a… well… mmmm… well… it was a “meh” read. I just happened to slide it off the shelf (years ago, I saved the book from someone‘s donation pile), believing it would be a quick read to wrap up September. And it was, despite my boredom with it. 

As seen in the above blurb, the premise is appealing.  Especially if you like stories featuring people of color and drama. Nonetheless, Playing My Mother’s Blues was nothing really unique. It’s one of Wesley’s contemporary African American novels. It’s told with the same familiar themes–concerning families and their secrets–seen in her Tamara Hayle mystery series. And in many ways, the story itself reflects her recently released, When the Night Whispers, book. So Wesley’s pattern is clear.  And well... that’s pretty much it.

It was the writing and characters that kind of came across as bland and forgettable. Neither one of them went deep into the offered material. I can sum the book up as simply as a mother walking out on her family due to an affair, and months later the affair ends.  She loses the favor of her daughters, her daughters repeat her behavior as adults (and teens), she begs for the favor of her daughters.  A plot twist is thrown in at the very end... and there you have it. The characters just never go too deep, and many of which come across as one-dimensional all the way to the very end. Though Wesley throws in some hard, tough issues for the characters to confront, everything seemed too safe and pain free.

In all respects, Playing My Mother’s Blues was just a quick, easy read and not too much more.  It was just a story; uncomplicated and wholly simple in its telling.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Last Thoughts on "A Thousand Lives"

I almost didn't make it through this book, deciding that maybe it was too dark and truthful to read.  Much of that trepidation was brought to me after my first reading session, having had a nightmare related to the Jonestown event afterwards.  Nevertheless, I proceeded forward with reading A Thousand Lives, and the experience got easier.  So much so that in the middle of the book my sadness slipped away in place of an absolute, running inquisitiveness for how this ugly event unfolded.  And Scheeres didn’t seem to hold back--according to my intelligence on the subject.  She revealed a mountain of startling information/back story on the Jonestown event that had me scratching my head and sparkly-eyed at the same time.  It’s also interesting that the more I read it, the more I saw parallels between Jim Jones’s ill-intended actions surrounding the Jonestown community, and Mao’s actions over the larger-scaled China.  Toss in a few shared terms like “communism” and “socialism” and I was sold by the connection my feelers kept picking up--having experienced reading Jung Chang’s Mao: The Unknown Story a month previous.

My current dilemma is that I don’t know exactly how to tackle this surfacing of thought diligently.  Or without branching into another web of topics concerning the two.  What I’m pondering sounds both sensitive and insensitive.  So much so that I just want to disregard the entire subject.  Still, it’s clear to me that Jones and Mao used politics and lies to reign on their followers.  They practiced some intense chicanery.  They purged their many enemies and rivals without too much hesitation.  They used the power of hunger and defeatism.  And they repeatedly pounded their maniacal-based mantas to subjugate their defenseless crowds.  In the end many wearily walked into their deaths, after living with the broken hope for change promised by their leaders.  And both leaders' imploded on themselves in the end.

This is me keeping much of my troubling thoughts simple.

Nevertheless, through my reading of A Thousand Lives, I kept asking myself what everyone else may have asked themselves: “What would I do in this situation?”  Then I would ask myself do I know of anyone in my life that would be susceptible to something like Peoples Temple's (Jones’s organization) religious doctrines?  Or not so religious... as apparently seen.  

Would I have fought or spoken up come Jones’s final speech, much like Christine Miller did?  Nonetheless, a speech where Jones pushed and encouraged the sacrificing of the Jonestown community behind his contemptible lie that a war was about to storm the township after the murder of Congressman Ryan by his own men?  What ways would I have ran if I could run, just as some survivors did?  Would I have managed like the brave Leslie Wilson and her child, along with a handful of others who escaped into the jungle the morning Congressman Ryan stepped into Jonestown?  Would I have spoken up to leave with Ryan, just as Tommy Bogue and his father did?  Would I have been slick and brave like Stanley Clayton, who managed to slip pass the armed guards surrounding the perimeter for defects?  Or would I have been like the elderly African-American woman named Hyacinth Thrash, who followed her sister to Jonestown?  Hyacinth had a body so worn that she stopped attending the pavilion meetings in Jonestown (partly because she disagreed with Jones's message).  Her staying in her cottage this one night saved her life.  She hid underneath her bunk when the last of Jones’s men went about shooting other individuals who did not report to the pavilion to drink the poison.  While I couldn't recall her name, Hyacinth’s story as a survivor was one that I could remember after watching a documentary on the event years ago.  There was a “she is the woman they were talking about” moment as I read her piece on surviving.  

Nevertheless, the biggest question I kept asking myself was would I have ran if I saw my family die before me?

Even as I write this I get a little emotional at the thought.

Therefore, I will close this out by not only declaring that this book was an eye-opener, but that it also reminded me of how good it feels to be grateful to have those that I love still in my life.  And if I should take one thing from this book to keep me going, it would most certainly be the courageous story of the few Jonestown survivors.

What would you have done?  Hard to really answer, right?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Unboxing ~ ここで開く

Latest video.  I'm doing my first book unboxing here, coincidentally (though I don't necessarily believe in coincidences) tied to my first purchase at  It's a small wonder, though.  See, months ago when I discovered Bookoutlet, I wasn't particularly crazy about it.  I think I browsed the site twice and only ran across maybe two books that I really wanted.  And those books weren't a desperate-to-own.  So I passed.  I talked a little smack about the site's overabundance in YA novels (that was my poor perception at the time), and moved along.  Recently I tried them again.  This time I took my Amazon Wishlist and did a "cross check" where I browsed for specific titles that I knew were desperate-to-own.  Lo and behold I checked out with four titles and spent less than $24.  I consider that a fawning success.  While the titles are probably noted as remainders, they are all in perfect condition.  However, Bookoutlet marks the condition of several books as otherwise for consumer awareness.  They also list the stock amount of available books.  Which kid of pissed me off because had I paid attention to those small numbers before, I would've had a cheaper copy of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Talents by now.  Boo-hoo!

So I got...

1.  A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres

Without a doubt this is going to be a dark, dark read.  Anyone familiar with Jim Jones and the Jonestown tragedy that took place in the 1970s understands that there is probably nothing bright seeping out of this book.  Nevertheless, for the curiously nosy information freak that I am, I decided Julia Scheeres [Jesus Land] would provide a familiar narrative to the unfolding of this horrific event.  Needless to say, this is going to make for a page-turner.  While I'm familiar with its subject matter through watching several documentaries throughout the years, I've never went into educating myself on the hard details concerning Jonestown.  Stacked with referenced facts and recounts, I have to say that I am ready for the dive.  And it's next on my TBR.

2.  The Complete Keeper Chronicles by Tanya Huff

Long ago Tanya Huff was pointed out to me as a slicker alternative to Laurell K Hamilton.  To be specific, Huff's short-lived Victoria Nelson series shined as a better, comparable alternative.  Within five books and a short story omnibus, Toronto homicide detective turn P.I., Victoria (Vicky) Nelson, teamed up with her ex-partner and a centuries old vampire to deal out ass-whoopings to several paranormal uglies squatting the urban (and one rural) Canadian streets.  While that series makes an easy five stars, Huff's range stretches in further directions, including fantasy and sci-fi.  So color me anxious to read more by her.  The Keeper Chronicles trilogy is urban fantasy, with a high emphasis on fantasy done in ways other than vampires and zombies.  To my pre-mature awareness I should say.  I passed on the series until a couple of years ago when I bought the first book at a used bookstore.  I got a good 40 pages in when I put it down and read something else.  Never to pick it back up.  But I held on to it.  Like we all do.  Until two years ago when the trilogy was released as an omnibus edition and my interest peeked back up.  Took me a minute, but I finally got it at a great price--thanks to BookOutlet.  So far, we have a bed-and-breakfast setting, a talking cat, and a ghost.  No giving up this time!

3.  Hurricane by Jewell Parker Rhodes

I have gushed about my love of this particularly series in minute details throughout Comic Towel and my videos.  It's New Orleans setting, shrouded in old spells mixed with murder mysteries and some hospital drama, just lights me up.  Part of a trilogy, Hurricane is the final foray into the world of doctor Marie Laveau nee Levant, and her double life as a mystery-solving-voodoo-priestess.  I'm hoping her journey goes out with a bang, especially considering the first book (Voodoo Season) put this series on a high bar for a person with interest in such subjects as voodoo spells and mysteries.  The magic within this series has always been how Rhodes serves readers an intelligent woman of color solving mysteries, underneath the veil of commanding the powers of her ancestor, the infamous (and historical based) voodoo queen of Louisiana, Marie Laveau.  While the first book features a cult and zombies, and the second book (Yellow Moon) an African vampire spirit called wazimamoto, Hurricane takes on Hurricane Katrina.  And that's all I know at this point, but my thirst and trust in this author's delivery is so real.  Be sure that once I finish this book, it'll be splashed all over this blog. 

4.  Innocent Blood by P.D. James

I've never read any of the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries by English crime writer, P.D. James.  However, what I have read by her was the first book in her two-book Cordelia Gray series called An Unsuitable Job For a Woman.  Needless to say, I loved the book.  It features a young woman P.I. solving a seemingly domestic suicide that turns into a complex (and sometimes leaning toward convoluted) murder case.  Did I say that I was in love with this book?  Of course I did.  However, the second book, The Skull Beneath the Skin, was too much of a bore for me to complete it.  Though I plan too.  Innocent Blood isn't a part of either the Cordelia Gray or Adam Dalgliesh series.  It's a stand alone mystery.  According to the synopsis, the adopted, Philippa Palfrey, turns 18 and decides it's time to find her real parents.  While she has always envisioned aristocratic ties within her heritage, what she encounters is a little more bloody than she anticipated.  I've wanted to read this book for years based off the synopsis.  Finally, it's within my grasp.

With all that said... all I can scream is...

Thanks everyone.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Housekeeping Video

Review and Book Housekeeping Video

I'm giving a small review of Domino Falls by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due and doing a mini book haul featuring Control by Lydia Kang and Year of the Demon by Steve Bein.  Be on the lookout for reviews.

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