Cover Image: Breath of Joy

Breath of Joy

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Member Reviews

‘’Things of grace that
are borne in death
Whispered prayers in
sacred spaces
hauntingly elusive
echoes of
voices gone before.’’

A beautiful picture/photo book whose purpose is to communicate the love for autumn to children. When I was a child, autumn wasn’t very welcome. We had associated with the new school year and our excitement was non-existent. When I grew up...well, it’s pointless to repeat my utter obsession with what I perceive to be the most beautiful time of the year.

In vivid photos and interesting assortment of themes, Kathy Joy demonstrates all the little treasures that hide in autumn and make it such a special, glorious season. The colourful leaves, the homemade cinnamon buns, and the fresh, roasted coffee. The sad sunlight and the slightly chilly mornings, the early twilight, the blooming brown-gold chrysanthemums, the sweaters and the soft blankets, the birds that depart for warmer climates, scary films, the perfume of the harvest.

Now that we are preparing to welcome the Christmas festivities and the white season, this little book is an unassuming opportunity to reflect and bid adieu to one more autumn…

‘’Being deliciously frightened by
dancing shadows,
empty houses, gypsy breezes, scary music
hair-raising stories.’’
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Breath of Joy is a collection of pictures and poetic phrases, put together to create a lookbook of autumnal feelings. 

I love the concept of a simple book, filled with beautiful clear images and accompanying phrases to create a mood, and atmosphere, instead of telling a story. Such a book would make a lovely coffee table piece, or autumnal gift. Unfortunately, this book does not live up to those expectations. 

This has the feel of a personal scrapbook or collection of collages, which is not altogether a bad thing. I think, however, that it is not thought through enough or well executed enough to be anything more than a personal keepsake the author can share with friends. 

The page layouts are not particularly complementary, and it feels as though it was made in a free build-your-own photo book app. The font is unfortunate, and very off putting. Many of the photographs are very beautiful and moody, however some of them come off as stock photography, which I gather from the final page they may well be. 

The words again have some beautiful elements, I particularly like the page which reads

The steadfast 
industry of farming 
& old barns: 
silent cathedrals of times gone by, 
like paperweights 
holding down
the earth. 

The imagery is beautiful and thought provoking. Many of the pages however, are filled with odd stilted writing that doesn't inspire so much as confuse. 

I would not recommend this book, but I still appreciate the concept and the idea behind it.
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A beautiful book full of pictures and moments of reflection. This book made me feel warm and cosy as I thought about the different things on each page. It made me feel grateful for all I had and was able to experience. Perfect to use to take a moment to reflect on life.
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Beautiful photography which brings back wonderful memories with the accompanying text, a lovely coffee table book.  One that brings happy memories when you have one of those days,  that maybe best forgotten.
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Liked the idea of this book, but when I saw the imagery and wording to me was let down. But I think it is because I was expecting more than what is presented. There are some great sentences relating to fall/autumn and there are images that connect - the connection I think could be better.
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I appreciate what this book was trying to be. I agree with the majority, this is definitely not a children's book. The author says this book is dedicated to her daughters, which I assume means adult daughters, which is definitely more fitting. I can see this book being given as a uni graduation gift, as a dedication of things passed/to come. Or to someone much older who has lived through many years. I do have to agree again with the majority about the photo layout. Some of the collages are lovely, but a lot of them don't fit or compliment each other, they are as if no time or care was given. The choice of font sort of adds to the feeling of this being more of a class project made at school. I think this book is a nice idea, but needs a 'remodel' so to speak.
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Despite NetGalley classifying it as such, this is not a children's picture book. It's a pretentious free-verse poem with adult-level vocabulary illustrated with free photographs, bad Photoshop work, and a free font that that makes the whole thing look really amateurish (it's not Comic Sans... but it still looks awful).

There's nothing in here that's inappropriate for children, but it's simply not suitable for them:

"Things of grace that
are borne in death,

Whispered prayers in
sacred spaces
hauntingly elusive
echoes of
voices gone before."

Does it
make it poetry
If I insert
random capitals
Line breaks?

Needless to say, the grammar here drove me batty. I understand artistic license, and I'm willing to overlook certain things... if they're done consistently. Here, though, they're not. Grammar and punctuation be damned; some pages just look like a bunch of words were thrown at them.

I'm also not a fan of books that are illustrated with stock photos. I mean, most of the photos are nice and all, but there are a few pages where the layout and/or Photoshop skills leave something to be desired.

I don't know who I'd recommend this to. A lot of adults aren't going to be impressed by the look of the book (what is that awful font that's used throughout?!) and kids probably don't want to sit through a poetic ramble where they don't understand half the words. Who's the audience?

I'm afraid I don't know...
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I'm so confused as to the audience for this book.  The photos are ok, but not really aimed for children.  The words are not child like at all.  Yet the entire book feels very immaturely put together.  Sadly I'm not very excited about any part of this book other than the idea of it.
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There are two ways to look at this title.

If you look at it as a book, there are problems.  The whole thing is less than article length, the images are stock photos and not very artfully arranged, and there's no actual narrative or cohesiveness.  It wasn't until the very last page that the cold reader finds out that this is a collection of facebook "daily thoughts", which gives the missing context.

If you look at it as a nice little seasonal PDF, full of tiny vignettes of autumn joys -- that's where it makes more sense.  And it's not unenjoyable that way.  Reminders of the season's tiny pleasures are nice to have, and this collection definitely hits on quite a few, and the turn of the phrase is nice.

It's a hard one to rate, though, because it's presented as a book instead of a PDF/article, and on those expectations, it falls a little short.  It just doesn't feel "done" enough to be a book yet.  It needs context and visual cohesiveness for that, and I don't think it's there yet.
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2.5 Stars

This is filled with some pretty photographs, which apparently weren’t taken by the author, however, the way they are presented is somewhat choppy and uneven, with bits and pieces of photos interspersed with text that left me wanting more, especially since Autumn is my favourite time of year. I realize that this is supposed to be aimed at children, but even that doesn’t really come through. It just feels a bit lost with what it wants to be.

On the good side – it’s very short.

Published: 30 Jul 2018

Many thanks for the ARC provided by BooksGoSocial
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The author tried, but this collection just doesn't quite do it for me. The photographs are nice, but I didn't care for the way they were laid out, collaged over each other awkwardly and haphazardly in places. In some layouts, the banners of text cover the photos too much, detracting from them. It could use an overhaul- give the book more pages, so the photos can be seen individually, instead of being stacked on each other, and can be less covered by the text. Make the text smaller, maybe add some quotes, passages, poems about autumn to supplement the author's words. As is, the book looks amateurish- it's a good idea, just not well executed. 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.

#BreathOfJoy #NetGalley
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The photos are absolutely beautiful, crisp and full of colors. The prose was all that is ideal about autumn: leaves, apples, pumpkins, and football. While delightful, I wouldn’t classify it as a children’s book, but more of  an adult memory book.  However, the formatting didn’t work properly on my Kindle. In print, I’m quite sure that it would be a five star. #BreathOfJoy #NetGalley
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I liked some of the photos in this book, though I'm assuming they weren't taken by the author (Page 3 credits the photographers in small print, which is quite a joke considering the only merit of this book are the cosy images of autumn themselves). There were great snaps of maple leaves, lighthouses, sunsets and things that left me feeling warm and cosy.

Unfortunately, everything else is a huge mess.

The quotes mostly made no sense, were utterly forgettable and spoiled the pictures. The layout is awful and awkward, with images put together into stiff collages and sharp angles. The font, which does not match autumn and the pictures at all, is simply awful and cringe-worthy. There are also unaligned + random spacing and line breaks in the text.

Honestly, how the each page looks is a huge turn-off and I don't know which editor/publisher/designer approved this book.

Autumn is my favourite season but alas, this book doesn't exactly convey its vibe. And I've never come across a less aesthetically pleasing 'photobook'.
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THank you to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book.

This book has beautiful pictures but odd quotes. All I can really say about it.
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The photographs included in this collection are simply stunning. Each and every one is sure to evoke in the reader either a memory or a wistful longing.

At only forty-four pages, this is a quick read, but would be a wonderful coffee table book and would be the perfect Thanksgiving hostess gift. 

I rate this book as four out of five stars.
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Lovely book! I can't wait to see a hard copy of it in color! Autumn is my favorite season and this poems just tug at my heart. They bring back memories for me from long ago. They make me feel alive and present and enjoying another autumn.
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There is nothing here to keep you dwelling in despair. The book launches you into Autumn with zest and a vibrant burst of colour. The pictures provide warmth and a sense of the familiar while the words are brief but capture that moment and levitate one’s mood.

“The past
pulling at your sleeves
The future
tugging at your hand.”

“Geese, black zig-zag
stitches sewing up the sky.”

“Counting your blessings instead of calories ...
Laughter being the best seasoning.”

“  Simmering down the harvest Preserving the sweetness
and honoring traditions.”

Pleased with every page. Transported by the photographs which are ignited by succinct words.

With over pages of words and pictures this is an instant happy fix to propel you out and face the day. Autumn is not everyone’s favourite time of the year but this book will tease out more enjoyment and brighten every upcoming day.
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