Thursday, September 28, 2017

Creative Marker Art & Beyond by Lee Foster-Wilson

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Creative Marker Art & Beyond
by Lee Foster-Wilson

ISBN-13: 9781633223394
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Walter Foster Publishing
Released: Sept. 1, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Are you a doodler? Coloring-book graduate? Fine artist? No matter your skill level, you’re sure to love our route through the world of drawing with markers.

This great guide kicks off with basic tools, materials, techniques, and color pointers. From there, you’ll jump into creative prompts, easy exercises, and step-by-step projects. Creative Marker Art & Beyond will have you trying a new medium and drawing with markers in no time.

We also include helpful advice for successfully composing drawings, building and layering colors, shading, and adding pen, not to mention giftable artwork done on a variety of fun, accessible surfaces. Create nature scenes, patterns, flowers, colorful trees, animals, and more with Creative Marker Art & Beyond.

My Review:
Creative Marker Art & Beyond provides instruction on how to use markers to create basic, stylized marker art. It appears to be for an audience like beginning DIY crafters or people who enjoy adult coloring books who are ready to try making something on their own. The book started with some basic information about markers and ways to use them. You don't need much in the way of equipment to get started, nor does it appear to cost much to try out. She gave information on techniques throughout the book and provided practice pages in the book.

The author dove right into the step-by-step projects, starting very simple and getting a little more elaborate by the last projects. Each project applied the techniques learned previously in the book so you can see how you use them. The photographs showed each step, and each step moved forward slowly enough that you don't get lost or wonder "how did she get there?" or "how did she do that?" She covered a variety of surfaces (glass, wood, paper, fabric, stone) and types of markers (permanent markers, paint markers, brush markers, etc.). Projects included personalized notebook covers, custom wrapping paper, rock art, a decorated glass frame, and more.

The projects aren't super-fancy, but they are creative fun. Overall, I'd recommend this book to beginners interested in marker art.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dear World by Bana Alabed

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Dear World
by Bana Alabed

ISBN-13: 9781501178443
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: Oct. 3, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
"I’m very afraid I will die tonight.” —Bana Alabed, Twitter, October 2, 2016
“Stop killing us.” —Bana Alabed, Twitter, October 6, 2016
“I just want to live without fear.” —Bana Alabed, Twitter, October 12, 2016

When seven-year-old Bana Alabed took to Twitter to describe the horrors she and her family were experiencing in war-torn Syria, her heartrending messages touched the world and gave a voice to millions of innocent children.

Bana’s happy childhood was abruptly upended by civil war when she was only three years old. Over the next four years, she knew nothing but bombing, destruction, and fear. Her harrowing ordeal culminated in a brutal siege where she, her parents, and two younger brothers were trapped in Aleppo, with little access to food, water, medicine, or other necessities.

Facing death as bombs relentlessly fell around them—one of which completely destroyed their home—Bana and her family embarked on a perilous escape to Turkey.

In Bana’s own words, and featuring short, affecting chapters by her mother, Fatemah, Dear World is not just a gripping account of a family endangered by war; it offers a uniquely intimate, child’s perspective on one of the biggest humanitarian crises in history. Bana has lost her best friend, her school, her home, and her homeland. But she has not lost her hope—for herself and for other children around the world who are victims and refugees of war and deserve better lives.

My Review:
Dear World is a memoir by a seven-year-old about her experiences during war in Aleppo, Syria. Her mother also wrote short sections giving a mother's perspective on the events described by Bana. They don't talk about the grand scale of what was happening but described what it was like for a peaceful family caught up in a war in their city. We learned a bit about what Bana's life was like before war arrived in Aleppo, how life changed, what her family went through, and how they got out.

Bana wondered if people knew what was happening, so she started tweeting about it, including pictures and videos of the destruction. I haven't seen these, but she's a courageous young woman to do this when it endangered her life. The book included pictures of Bana's family during this time period and some of the destruction caused by the bombing. She didn't use graphic (as in, gory) descriptions but focused on how seeing the death, injuries, and destruction around her made her feel. This is a book that kids to adults should read, and it's a quick read, too.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Marta McDowell

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The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder
by Marta McDowell

ISBN-13: 9781604697278
Hardcover: 390 pages
Publisher: Timber Press
Released: Sept. 20, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
A must-read companion to the Little House books. 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthday. Her beloved Little House series tells a classic coming-of-age story based on Wilder’s own family life and is a reflection of the pioneer spirit of the time. They are also deeply rooted in the natural world. The plants, animals, and landscapes are so integral to the stories, they are practically their own characters.

The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, by New York Times bestselling author Marta McDowell, explores Wilder’s deep relationship to the landscape. Follow the wagon trail of the series, starting in the Wisconsin setting of Little House in the Big Woods to the Dakotas and finally to Missouri. Throughout, you’ll learn details about Wilder’s life and inspirations, discover how to visit the real places today, and even learn to grow the plants and vegetables featured in the stories.

The artful package includes original illustrations by Helen Sewell and Garth Williams, along with historical and contemporary photographs.

My Review:
The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a companion book to the Little House books. We're told the locations and dates for each book in the series. Going book by book, the author explained things like the history of each location and what was typical for the area at that time. She also gave more detail on the plants and farm work mentioned in the books. There were many pictures and illustrations of the places, tools, and plants. She included maps showing the locations where Laura lived.

Basically, each chapter was a companion to a book or location in the series: Wisconsin Woods (Little House in the Big Woods), New York Farm (Farmer Boy), Prairie of Kansas (Little House on the Prairie), Creekside in Minnesota & Iowa (On the Banks of Plum Creek), The Dakota Prairie (By the Shores of Silver Lake and The Long Winter), Settled Farm & Settled Town (Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years), and Great Plains to Ozark Ridge (The First Four Years). The author also covered Laura's life at Rocky Ridge Farm and Rock Home (based on letters, newspapers, and other writings).

She ended by describing the places that a person might enjoy visiting if interested in seeing the places where Laura Wilder lived. She also included a list of plants mentioned in the books for those interested in planting those flowers, trees, etc. The book was a fun, quick read. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting book to fans of the Little House series.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Englishman's England by Ian Ousby

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The Englishman's England
by Ian Ousby

ISBN-13: 9781910670859
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Thistle Publishing
Released: Sept. 12, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
The English tourist industry is not the modern creation we often suppose. Ian Ousby investigates the landmarks chosen by the English for their leisure travel over the centuries. He looks in particular at four types of attraction still prominent on the tourist map of England: literary shrines, country houses, picturesque ruins and the natural landscape. All these first became objects of fashionable attention during the eighteenth century, when improvements in transport combined with a spirit of practical inquiry to breed the first generation of travellers who called themselves ‘tourists’.

Drawing on a wide range of sources - journals, travel books and guidebooks, novels and poems, as well as many engravings – Ian Ousby traces the canons of taste which led the early tourists to seek out places like Stratford-upon-Avon, Chatsworth, Tintern Abbey and the Lake District, and records the stages by which these places acquired the trappings of the tourist attraction. Above all, he shows the development not just of an industry but of a state of mind marked, from its earliest phase, by the underlying fear that tourism is fated to spoil or even destroy the very thing it most admires.

My Review:
The Englishman's England looked at what sites and objects drew the interest of the eighteenth century tourist. The author looked at traveler's letters, diaries, journals, and guide books to see what sites they visited and what they thought about them. He often quoted from these sources. If one tourist talked about a place, others soon came to visit until it turned into a tourist trap. Locals sold mementos, guides demanded fees, stations were marked out for ideal viewing of a scene, or cannons, singing, or instruments were used to heighten the traveler's experience.

The author looked at the literary shrines they visited (graves or monuments to an author, the places the author wrote about, their birth places, etc.), their opinions about various fancy country houses (and the fees and attitudes of those allowing or guiding these tours), the draw of ruins like Stonehenge or of old abbeys and cathedrals, and places in the Peak District and Lake District that drew people for the caves, crags, and views. He talked about changing tastes reflected in how they viewed various sites and what they criticized.

These sites were usually under private ownership at the time, so what the owners did with the sites provoked discussion about how far a site (like a ruin) should be preserved in its present state or developed to accommodate tourists. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Start Your Own Etsy Business by Jason R. Rich

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Start Your Own Etsy Business
by The Staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc.,
Jason R. Rich

ISBN-13: 9781599186092
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Entrepreneur Media Inc.
Released: Sept. 12, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from NetGalley:
Whether you’re a master crafter, a carpenter, a jewelry designer, or have become passionate about making the best home d├ęcor in town, now is the time to go from hobby to full-time business owner. And with million shoppers ready to discover your unique offerings it only makes sense to join the largest, most successful online community of creative entrepreneurs on Etsy®.

Our experts have teamed up with successful shop owners to provide you with Start Your Own Etsy® Business, an easy-to-understand, comprehensive blueprint that takes you through setting up, branding, marketing, and managing your store. You’ll learn how to:

• Create listings and marketing plans that attract the right customers
• Choose keywords and tags design to drive traffic to your shop
• Pick the right shipping and packaging methods to meet your inventory needs
• Define your brand with carefully crafted logos, product listings, and images
• Reach more shoppers with targeted social media and advertising campaigns
• Create storytelling product listings and professional looking product photos
• Decide when it’s time to turn your part-time hobby into a full-time business venture

Plus, gain worksheets, templates, resource lists and tips designed to go from passion to profits. If you’re ready to share your passion for your craft with millions around the world, this guide is for you.

My Review:
Start Your Own Etsy Business is a book about starting your own small business and effectively selling your crafts on Etsy. The book started with an overview of Etsy and starting your own small business. Then the author went into more detail about what's involved in setting up a small business, from business plans and tax IDs to inventory management and accounting. He talked about determining what you need to get set up, your costs and prices, your target audience, and branding.

He then described step-by-step how to open an Etsy account, set up your store, and add product listings. He also discussed fees, setting prices and shipping costs, taking (or hiring) professional photographs of your products, choosing and including search words, writing effective text to describe your product, and more. He also discussed promotion and marketing using paid advertising and social media.

He included advice from successful Etsy sellers, including specific things they did that increased their sells. I found this advice both interesting and helpful. The author included plenty of links to online help pages and included some sample worksheets. While this book will help anyone who wants to set up an Etsy account, it's targeted at those who want to create a profitable business from their crafting. Overall, I'd recommend this book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond by Alex Lewin, Raquel Guajardo

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Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond
by Alex Lewin,
Raquel Guajardo

ISBN-13: 9781592337385
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Fair Winds Press
Released: Sept. 1, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Fermented foods help improve digestion, enable us to better assimilate vitamins and minerals, and strengthen the immune system. Of all fermented foods, drinks are some of the most versatile—and tasty! Think kombucha, kefir, and real ginger ale. Many of these items you can buy in the store, but making them at home is simple, economical, and even better for you. With just a few ingredients and materials, you can start brewing your own delicious beverages for your family.

Ferment Your Drinks is packed with innovative drink recipes, from healthy homemade sodas to traditional kvass and cider, that you can make in your home kitchen and enjoy all year long! Inside, you’ll learn:

--The history of fermentation and the value of traditional foods
--The benefits of fermented drinks to your health
--All the basics: the process, the tools, and how to get started
--How to use starters to make kombucha, kefir, root beer, wine, and others again and again
--Age-old recipes for kvass, switchel, vinegar, and mead
--Everything you need to know about why the recipes work, why they are safe, what to do if they go wrong, and how to modify them to suit your taste

My Review:
Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond explains how to safely make your own fermented drinks. The authors talked about why you should drink fermented drinks, provided an evolutionary history of fermented drink consumption, gave a simplified version of the science of fermenting foods, and described the tools that you need or might like to have to make your own fermented drinks.

They provided about 24 recipes that use fermented foods--plus other ingredients--to make a drink. Most of these were in the fermented cocktails section. The rest of the recipes were how to ferment a food, some part of which can be used as or made into a drink. They started with 6 master recipes for making ginger bug, yogurt, milk kefir, whey, vinegar, and water kefir.

The next chapter was about tea fermentation (kombucha and jun). Next were 6 recipes for vegetable drinks using brine from fermented beets, cucumbers, or radishes and making a juice out of kimchi and such. Next were 7 recipes for making bubbly sodas by fermenting hibiscus, coconut water, grapes, lemons, limes, oranges, or fruit juices. The last chapters covered recipes for fermenting mildly alcoholic drinks: 5 beer recipes (including root beet and ginger beer), 10 wines and ciders (including berry wine, apple cider, pear cider, mead, and rice wine), 4 Mexican drinks, and 18 fermented cocktails.

The instructions were easy to follow and most should be easy to do. They don't require expensive equipment or ingredients. I've made yogurt and kefir in the past, and I felt like they gave good instructions for those. It looked like the other recipes were as useful. I plan to try the ginger bug, apple cider (non-alcoholic version), and coconut water soda recipes soon.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.