4.09.2017

Review: Argyle Fox

Recommended for classroom libraries! (5 stars)

Problem solving skills are one of the most important things being taught in today's elementary schools. It builds independence and confidence and fosters a growth mindset. Which is why I loved Argyle Fox immensely. It isn't always easy to find a book where a child character with a problem is given such minimal aid from a guardian and allowed to find a solution on their own.

With charming illustrations and an adorable hero, Argyle Fox, would make both a fantastic bedtime read or addition to a classroom library. While the message of being resourceful and inventive isn't likely to be noticed by children it's sure to inspire similar creative responses. But if not, it's a fun story with cute animals youngsters will enjoy.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.


Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau

Children's, Animals, Games, Problem Solving
Print (32 pages, TANGLEWOOD)
Argyle Fox, with his signature style, wants to play outside on a springtime day, but the wind is wreaking havoc with his fun and games. As soon as he builds a card tower, climbs into a giant spider web, or takes up his pirate sword, here comes the wind: Woosh!
Mama Fox tells grumpy Argyle that if he thinks long enough, he will come up with something to do. Following his mother’s suggestion and inspired by her knitting, he works all the pieces of his day together and creates the perfect solution.
The story of Argyle teaches that failure is often a path to success and celebrates perseverance, creative thinking, and an old-fashioned springtime activity. (Ages 3-7)



Book Review: The Last Tree


Other Ugly Things (4 stars)


The Last Tree is an interesting book. While its blurb seems to indicate it being a hopeful tale, I found it rather melancholy. Though its message of the importance of nature and our impact on the environment is one I find especially important I'm not sure this is the book I would share with my children or students to do so. Something about it felt like it would upset my sensitive daughter and not in a good way.

My reservations about sharing this with sensitive children aside, it is beautifully illustrated and gives a very strong contrast of city and nature.

Notes: ARC received through NetGalley.

The Last Tree by Ingrid Chabbert & Raúl Nieto Guridi

Children's, Nature, Environment
Digital/Print (36 pages, KIDS CAN PRESS)
A small boy lived in a city with no grass or trees. “Instead,” he says, “we had roads, walls and lots of other ugly things.” One day, the boy and his friend were amazed to discover a tiny sapling growing behind a low wall. They had never seen a tree and they imagined how majestic it would be someday. When they found out a condominium was to be built where their tree lived, the boys knew they had to dig it up and replant it. They had to save the last tree.
A poignant story about hope and the importance of nature. (Ages 4-7)

Review: Find Your Awesome


Fits a specific audience (3 stars)


I love a good self-help book and I love guided journaling projects so Find Your Awesome sounded right up my alley. For those looking to take on a 30-Day journaling challenge this has a really good format. The ideas are indeed playful and imaginative.

What held me back from giving this a higher rating was feeling like it was geared toward a young female audience. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm just older and didn't connect well to it or feel like I could recommend it to any of the men and boys I know who might enjoy a similar concept.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Find Your Awesome: A 30-Day Challenge to Fall in Love with Your Playful, Imaginative & Colorful Self by Judy Clement Wall

Crafts, Hobbies, Self-Help
Digital/Print (122 pages, HCI)
In a perfect world, maybe you wouldn't need a 30-day challenge to find and fall in love with your most playful, imaginative, and colorful self, but we don't live in a perfect world. We live in a fast-paced, high-octane society where feeling lost in the jostling crowd is the norm and finding our own significance is oftentimes the biggest challenge of all.  Fearless love champion Judy Clement Wall will guide you through this challenge--to fill your well for 30 days and tap into the miracle that is you! When you learn to love and value yourself, your relationships with everyone else will change, because the person that you bring to the world will be the fullest, truest, best-loved version of yourself. 
So step up and take this challenge. Carve out a few minutes each day to fully engage with yourself; reflect, unwind, and have fun! Here's a sneak peek at just some of the prompts:  
#2: Be outrageously grateful
#3: Create a life list
#4: Appreciate your body in all its awesomeness
#6: Doodle your perfect t-shirt 
#11:  Find your life theme
#12:  Call "BS" on "should"
#14: Text love.
Using a stimulating mix of coloring, creative prompts, and other daily activities, master writer, artist and doodler Judy Clement Wall will help you uncover the undeniable awesomeness that is you.

Book Review: Creepy Crawly Crochet

Creepy CUTE Crochet (4 stars)

Though I've attempted crochet in the past, I didn't have the coordination to keep it up as a hobby. Never the less, I adore amigurumi books, particularly those with scifi, fantasy, horror, and pop culture themes. This one has some really original and comical designs that I adored. Boo Boo the Voodoo Doll is my favorite but Poe the Raven and Bun Bun the Bunny are fun, unexpected critters too.

From a technical standpoint I can't say whether the instructions would be easy to follow but I'm guessing most of these (based on appearance and length of instruction) are not going to be easy for beginners. That said, it does have a section of crochet basics so if you're totally new you may find it an inspiring place to build your skills.

Notes: Review copy received through NetGalley.

Creepy Crawly Crochet: 17 Creatures That Go Bump in the Night by Megan Kreiner

Hobbies, Crafting, Crochet, Horror
Print (112 pages, DOVER)
They're creepy but they're cute and cuddly, too! Inspired by classic literature, film, and folklore, these 17 crochet monsters will delight everyone with a taste for old-fashioned thrillers and modern tales of horror. Detailed instructions include assembly diagrams for ease of construction along with full-color photos. The patterns are suitable for beginners, but advanced crocheters will find them irresistible as well.
These fetching fiends include Boo Boo the Voodoo Doll; Jack, the Headless Horseman, and his horse, Nightmare; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Carl of the Dead and Daisy, his Zombie Dog; and other sinister characters. In addition to their value as handmade keepsake treasures, these characters also make great gifts for fans of horror and science fiction.




4.08.2017

100% Real Food, 0% Pretentious Babble

100% real food, 0% pretentious babble  (4 stars)


"Find the fun in food; don't be a judgmental jerk". When you pick up a book of recipes and find this wisdom in it, you can bet it's going to be full of nutrition-packed meals without being painfully pretentious. I had honestly never heard of Talbot before but his approach to cooking and eating left me quite impressed. While we all must eat to live, food has many more roles in our lives from celebrating and comforting to healing and communicating. It was so refreshing to find a chef with a similar take on why food should be healthy and as unprocessed as possible but not without the occasional foray into decadence.

As a diabetic, the author has unique insights and I think many who are struggling with the disease will find this an encouraging addition to their cookbook collection. Vegan, gluten-free, or have other dietary restrictions? Definitely worth checking out. Admittedly, a lot of the recipes are too involved for my household to enjoy with any regularity. For those who aren't land-locked and struggle to find much fresh produce that isn't your typical 3 types of lettuce or A-B-O fruits, if you can access more variety without spending your retirement fund I much recommend them.

Notes: ARC received through NetGalley.

Review: The Mighty Zodiac Vol. 1

Great first graphic novel for kids. (4 stars)

If you've got a young reader who would benefit from trying a graphic novel series, check this one out! Based on the Chinese zodiac this comic is an exciting find that is sure to appeal to kids who like martial artist animal franchises like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or large superhero team-ups like The Avengers or Justice League.

Adult readers may find it a little bit bland but still worth picking up to share with their child.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.


The Mighty Zodiac Volume 1: Starfall by J. Torres, Corin Howell, & Maarta Laiho

Graphic Novel, Mythology, Fantasy
Digital/Print (152 pages, ONI PRESS)
One dark and quiet night in Gaya, six stars fall from the sky. Master Long, the ailing leader of the Mighty Zodiac, sends his warriors out to collect the stars before the Moon Rabbit Army can get their paws on them first. If the Rabbits get the stars, the balance of nature—and the fate of all of Gaya—will be in danger. But Long's plans to use the stars to "cure" his illness may be just as dangerous—and bring an end to the Mighty Zodiac itself. (Ages 9-12)





4.06.2017

Review: All Birds Have Anxiety


An all ages resource! (4 stars)

Growing up I was a pretty nervous kid. A worrier. In adulthood it eventually manifested as a full blown disorder that eventually left me nearly crippled by its power. It has been an arduous journey finding the right tools to make it manageable. I can leave my home again! 

But it can be hard to explain it to those for whom anxiety as nothing more than an emotional reaction versus a medical condition. What I loved about All Birds Have Anxiety was that it is all ages friendly. Since I work with kids I found this book could work well at broaching the subject with my little worriers. 

Full of vivid photos, gentle humor, and hopefulness I think this would be a wonderful resource for teachers, counselors, and parents who have children (and adults) in need of some encouragement.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.


All Birds Have Anxiety by Kathy Hoopmann

Children's, Special Needs, Self-Help
Digital/Print (72 pages, JESSICA KINGSLEY PUBLISHERS)Life as a bird can be stressful! From worrying about airplanes, windows, and getting enough worms to eat, it is clear that birds can be anxious beings. Through a light-touch, quizzical depiction of bird behaviour, All Birds Have Anxiety uses colourful images and astute explanations to explore with gentle humour what it means to live with anxiety day-to-day, and how to begin to deal with it.
Following the style of the best-selling All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome and All Dogs Have ADHD, wonderful colour photographs express the complex and difficult ideas related to anxiety disorder in an easy-to-understand way. This simple yet profound book validates the deeper everyday experiences of anxiety, provides an empathic understanding of the many symptoms associated with anxiety, and offers compassionate suggestions for change.
The combination of understanding and gentle humour make this the ideal introduction to anxiety disorder for those diagnosed with this condition, their family and friends and those generally interested in understanding anxiety.





Book Review: Botanical Beauty

Creative, natural, simple... (5 stars)

Though quite geared toward teens, I found Botanical Beauty to be a fantastic resource for anyone who would like to start making their own spa goodies. Mostly simple to make and with ingredients that most of us have around the house already or that can easily be sourced on Amazon these recipes are sure to be a hit with anyone who likes to be pampered.

Planning a spa birthday party for a group of tweens? This book has perfect projects for making and taking home. Want to create personalized gifts for the holidays? Even guys can enjoy many of these. Sick of Pinterest fails when you try to make natural body products? Then you need these tried and tested recipes with great tips and tricks.

I very much recommend this one!

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.


Botanical Beauty: 80 Essential Recipes for Natural Spa Products by Aubre Andrus

Teen, Beauty, Crafts
Digital/Print (160 pages, SWITCH)
Soak, scrub, and soothe your way to relaxation with simple homemade spa recipes from award-winning author Aubre Andrus. Using some of nature’s best ingredients, such as beeswax, sugar, coconut oil, shea butter, avocado, sea salt, essential oils, and more, craft everything from a Cooling Peppermint Hand Cream to a Vanilla Honey Body Scrub. Make practical products, like your own all-natural Bugs-Be-Gone Insect Repellent, Minty Homemade Toothpaste, and Natural Shaving Cream. Or pamper yourself after a long day with a Re-energizing Tub Tea, Lovely Lavender Bath Salts, and a Deep Conditioning Treatment. Nourish your body from head to toe with these organic, handmade recipes and crafts, or package them as a gift to share a fresh, fun spa experience.


4.05.2017

Review: Sacred Geometry Coloring Book

Soothing symmetry paired with natural elements. (4 stars)

In spite of the glut of coloring books geared toward adults the trend doesn't seem to be dying off, and with good reason. I've always enjoyed the act of coloring but it wasn't until the rise of the trend that I could pin down why—it's a lot like meditation without the trying to sit still and focus on your breath. Totally good for helping folks with certain mental illnesses (mine being GAD) and anyone who wants to destress. Most of my coloring books feature mythical creatures, nature, or have a humorous bent so I was eager to find something with more symmetry, more mandala-like but not another mandala coloring book. This book fit the bill perfectly!

I confess to knowing nothing about sacred geometry but I found the small blurbs for each page to be insightful. Most of the images are quite angular or geometric, which I find very soothing, but there are enough with more flowing or natural elements to keep it fresh and interesting. I particularly found the bees, lotuses, and celestial imagery to be beautiful and nice enough that they're worth framing after coloring. I do feel that I found a few of the illustrations had elements that felt a little dated but not to the point of bothering me. If you're at all into new age spirituality, mandalas, or geometric coloring please check this book out. Learning about sacred geometry is something I'm eager to do now thanks to this.

As I am reviewing a digital version of the book for bloggers I did not get to see if I liked the actual paper quality of the physical book so do please check reviews from actual purchasers too!

Notes: ARC received through NetGalley.

Sacred Geometry Coloring Book by Francene Hart

Release Date: April 14, 2017

Meditation, Self-Help, Coloring
Print (96 pages, DESTINY BOOKS)
Beautiful line-art depictions of the intricate paintings of visionary artist Francene Hart
• Includes 45 illustrations to color based on the art of Hart’s popular Sacred Geometry Oracle Deck and Sacred Geometry Cards for the Visionary Path
• Each piece is accompanied by brief, insightful commentary about the symbols and animals shown
• Intertwines the complex forms of Sacred Geometry with the beauty of Nature, including dolphins, dragonflies, trees, and many other forms and symbols
Experience firsthand the beauty of Nature’s animal and plant kingdoms intertwined with the wonders of Sacred Geometry and Spirit as you color the intricate and divine paintings of visionary artist Francene Hart.
Drawing on the imagery from her popular Sacred Geometry Oracle Deck and Sacred Geometry Cards for the Visionary Path, this coloring book contains 45 illustrations of Hart’s renowned Sacred Geometry paintings and drawings. Each piece is accompanied by a brief yet insightful commentary explaining the meaning behind the symbols and animals shown and offering inspiration to open your awareness to how these shapes influence our reality and tune your energies. From dolphins and dragonflies, the elements and celestial bodies, to the power of the torus, labyrinths, and the Flower of Life, this coloring book will lead you on a contemplative journey into the interconnected realms of Sacred Geometry, Nature, and Spirit while supporting your sense of wholeness and joy.



Book Review: The Queen of Frogs


Fun Froggy Fable for Young and Old (5 stars)

As a little girl there were few animals that captivated me as much as the humble frog. Growing from tadpoles in the muck of my backyard pond to the throaty singers who lulled me to sleep many a night, they just had a magic to them I have always found enchanting. Thus, I often find myself devouring children's books featuring the amphibians. The Queen of the Frogs is definitely my new favorite.

Much like the title character of my favorite Seuss story, Yertle the Turtle, our little green queen gets a bit too happy with her status. As they say, pride cometh before a fall and both children and adult readers are sure to get a kick out of the story. I must confess though, that it was the illustrations that really excited me. Soma has a style that feels a little antique and yet wholly modern, I will definitely have an eye out for more work from this author and illustrator team.

Notes: ARC received through NetGalley.

The Queen of the Frogs by Davide Cali  Illustrated by Marco Soma

Children's, Animals, Fairytales
Print (38 pages, EERDMAN'S BOOKS)
An enchanting modern fable
The frogs enjoy their life at the pond, filling their days with fly brunches and night music. But one day a little frog finds a crown at the bottom of the pond and is instantly pronounced a queen. She starts doing what queens do: making demands and expecting others to serve her. But when her royal subjects start to question her authority, she must prove she's fit to rule—if she can.
Reminiscent of Aesop's fables, this beautifully illustrated book is sure to start a discussion about the concept of leadership and the importance of humility. (Ages 4-9)






3.07.2017

Review: Bless This Mother-effing House


Not as funny as the blurb reads. (3 stars)

I haven't cross-stitched since I was a kid but I love a snarky bit of needlework so I couldn't resist BTMeH. 

2.28.2017

Book Review: Mrs. White Rabbit

A bedtime tale moms will enjoy reading. (5 stars)

Dear parents... I feel your pain. There are only so many times you can read Goodnight Moon or Pete the Cat before the bedtime story gets painful. They're totally great books but it's nice every once in a while to read one that the kids enjoy that has a little tongue-in-cheek humor that plays to the adults. Mrs. White Rabbit had me in stitches but managed to be entertaining for my 7-year-old too.

Taking an inside look at a never seen part of Wonderland and the long suffering wife of the ever late White Rabbit. This witty tome is sure to be a hit with moms thanks to the clever writing and hilarious illustrations. It might never be as popular with your kids as their old favorites but it's sure to be a welcome break once in a while.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.


Mrs. White Rabbit by Gilles Bachelet

Children's, Humor, RetellingPrint (32 pages, EERDMAN'S)
A hilarious twist on a classic tale
Alice in Wonderland is one of the great classics of children's literature, but what does anyone actually know about Wonderland? Through the diary of the White Rabbit's extremely busy wife, readers finally get to see what happens in the background during Alice's adventures.
Mrs. White Rabbit loves her husband and their many children, but with an invisible housecat from Cheshire and a young female visitor who frequently changes size, living in Wonderland comes with a number of challenges.
With an abundance of wit and charm, Mrs. White Rabbit gives Lewis Carroll's famous tale a refreshingly modern twist. (Ages 6-10)





2.27.2017

Discover YOUR Master Chakra With This


See chakras in a new light. (5 stars)


The past couple of years have been intensely difficult in nearly every facet of my life. I wouldn't quite call myself a soul seeker or spiritual really but I've found that many beliefs considered new age or pagan allow me to tap into something that has been a much needed succor. Among these things I found many discussions of chakras that were engrossing, thought-provoking, and ultimately, something I wanted to learn more about.

Though I'm quite new to the study of chakras this book offered something I hadn't considered before to what I had learned. I was quite surprised to find that my own master chakra was not at all the one I thought it might be. Further, as I delved into the workbook for my master chakra I quickly discovered just how accurately the information fit. It gave me some food for thought and some practices to implement as I work on personal growth.

While my initial read through focused on finding my own master chakra and learning more about it I will most definitely dive back in at a later date to learn about how to cultivate other chakras. If you've wanted to see chakras in a new way or simply are looking for a new spiritual tool for personal growth, I think this book is a resource worth adding to your library.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.


Discover Your Master Chakra: Reveal the Source of Your Spiritual Gifts by Stephanie S. Larsen

New Age, Spirituality, Chakras
Digital/Print (336 pages, LLEWELYN)
You were born on a ray of light, born into a life purpose that lets you manage one chakra more than the rest, to create a dominant vibration within and without yourself. That is your master chakra, and it defines who you are and how you interact with others. Discover Your Master Chakra guides you in using your main chakra to achieve greater love, harmony with self and others, and fulfillment in life. Designed for beginners and beyond, this insightful book helps you:
Find out what your master chakra is through a simple quiz
Learn about the seven soul-ray colors and which one corresponds to your master chakra
Explore your spiritual gifts, and those of your family and friends, through a workbook on each color
Use your newfound knowledge to change your reality and improve your relationships with all beings
Providing detailed information on each of the chakras and related spiritual gifts, Discover Your Master Chakra shows you how to best use your areas of giftedness and life’s work to increase your master chakra’s power and influence.


2.21.2017

A must-have for plant-based lifestyles: Good Clean Food


A must-have for plant-based lifestyles. (5 stars)



 As much as I love to eat clean, coming up with ways to make it happen are just not my strength. Fortunately, there are inspiring and inspired folks out there like Lily Kunin who not only give you recipes, they make it a feast for the eyes too.

Good Clean Food would be worth buying just for the beautiful food photography but Kunin proves she's more than just an Instagrammer with her recipes. You'll find nourishing soups, filling Power Bowls, creamy plant-based puddings, and so much more. Even, a few recipes for hair and face masks!

In particular, what I feel is a very stand-out part of this book is the Back to Basics chapter. It teaches how to use dried pulses and grains—which can be daunting to many cooks—as well as how to make nut milks and veggies noodles, as well as how to batch roast vegetables. For novice clean eaters and vegans I think that chapter alone makes this book a very worthy investment.

From cover to cover I was impressed. Stunning food photos, a lot more acquirable ingredients than similar offerings, and recipes for year-round nourishment make this a must-have. I loved it and will be recommending it to my many friends, family, and colleagues who are vegetarian/vegan/flexitarian and so forth.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Release Date: March 7th, 2017





Good Clean Food: Super Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Every Day by Lily Kunin
Clean Eating, Nutrition, Cooking, Photography, Vegan
Digital/Print (224 pages, ABRAMS)
Lily Kunin, creator of the popular site and Instagram account Clean Food Dirty City, shares 100 simple, vibrant, plant-based recipes for looking and feeling your best
In her debut cookbook, Good Clean Food, health coach Lily Kunin shares plant-based recipes for irresistibly clean, wholesome food. With Lily's less-is-more approach, you'll learn how to create nourishing dishes, bowls, salads, smoothies, and more using gluten- and dairy-free ingredients. Her delicious recipes are complemented by the same vibrant, textured, and stunning photography that has become a trademark of her popular site Clean Food Dirty City.
Organized by the way that food makes you feel—awakened, nourished, cleansed, restored, sustained, and comforted—Good Clean Food highlights key ingredients that support healthy eating and clean living.
The book contains a flavorful mix of recipes, including:
Falafel Bowl with Mediterranean Millet and Green Tahini
Walnut Taco Salad + Avocado
Pesto Zucchini Noodles
Evergreen Detox Bowl
Sunny Immunity Smoothie Bowl
Salted Caramel Bonbons
The book also features a “Bowl Builder” section that walks readers through the process of building the perfect grain bowl, and provides helpful advice on how to stock a healthy kitchen and prep for the week ahead. Helpful tips and recipes instruct on using the same ingredients from your pantry for beauty enhancement, like a raw honey-turmeric facemask and rosemary-coconut oil hair treatment.
Good Clean Food reinforces the notion that clean, simple food can be beautiful, taste delicious, and provide our bodies with all the nutrients and healing properties we need to thrive.






2.19.2017

Ever wished you could live in a more romantic era?

Romantic era my hiney! (5 stars)

This is quite possibly one of the most fascinating and funny books I've read about women in history. I always knew the Victorians were a strange lot by current standards but woah. You couldn't pay me to deal with the hygiene issues and garments/torture devices let alone the patriarchal living. Nope. Super nope.

Oneill shares this knowledge with enough humor to make it digestible for all. Post-read I've got even more respect for the women who survived the era. Because even though society is still trying to tell us ladies to be ashamed of our bodies and desires, at least in this era we get to choose to wear corsets or not, we have indoor plumbing, boxed wine and Netflix.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill

History, Women's History, Etiquette, Humor
Audio/Digital/Print (320 pages, LITTLE BROWN)
Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era?
Ladies, welcome to the 19th century, where there's arsenic in your face cream, a pot of cold pee sits under your bed, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (Why? Shush, dear. A lady doesn't question.)
UNMENTIONABLE is your hilarious, illustrated, scandalously honest (yet never crass) guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood, giving you detailed advice on:
~ What to wear
~ Where to relieve yourself
~ How to conceal your loathsome addiction to menstruating
~ What to expect on your wedding night
~ How to be the perfect Victorian wife
~ Why masturbating will kill you
~ And more
Irresistibly charming, laugh-out-loud funny, and featuring nearly 200 images from Victorian publications, UNMENTIONABLE will inspire a whole new level of respect for Elizabeth Bennett, Scarlet O'Hara, Jane Eyre, and all of our great, great grandmothers.
(And it just might leave you feeling ecstatically grateful to live in an age of pants, super absorbency tampons, epidurals, anti-depressants, and not-dying-of-the-syphilis-your-husband-brought-home.)



2.18.2017

Book Review: Hidden Universe Travel Guides: The Complete Marvel Universe


Pack your bags! (4 stars)

I truly got started as a comic book reader through Marvel titles like Daughters of the Dragon, Runaways, and X-23. Thanks to Marvel Studios I've come to appreciate and love other parts of the Marvel-verse, but there's still a lot to explore. And that is one reason this book was really fun to go through.


If you've ever wanted to travel the Marvel universe it looks like no stone has gone unturned here. To cap it off and make it a truly entertaining read though is the notations from the Guardians of the Galaxy. If you love the Guardians I think this is actually a collector's must-have.

Overall, this was a fun read that occasionally felt a little repetitive but is sure to amuse Marvel fans from all corners of the cosmos.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.


Hidden Universe Travel Guides: The Complete Marvel Cosmos: With Notes by the Guardians of the Galaxy

Humor, Travel, Comics
Digital (160 pages, MARVEL COMICS)
Check out these hilarious notes!
The ultimate guidebook to Earth, the Nine Realms, and other dimensions from Marvel Comics, as told by Peter Quill, Rocket, Groot, and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Ever since Super Heroes like Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy started stomping around planet Earth, we’ve had to open our horizons a little and embrace the wider reaches of space. If you’re thinking of journeying to one of the many new realms for a little R’n’R, then don’t leave home without Hidden Universe’s guide to the cosmos. Whether you’re looking to enjoy the divine splendor of Asgard or soak up the multicultural atmosphere of intergalactic waypoint Knowhere, this is the book for you. It even provides some tips on surviving excursions to Planet Moord and Chitauri Prime, if you like your vacations to be on the extreme side.
• SEE THE COSMOS – Features information on the hot spots, history, and culture of more than forty locations in the Marvel Universe, including Planet X, Halfworld, Weirdworld, and the Planet of the Symbiotes.
• REDISCOVER EARTH – Get the lowdown on some of the Earth's most exotic and mysterious locations, such as Wakanda, Latveria, the Savage Land, and New Attilan.
• GET INVALUABLE ADVICE – Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot, aka the Guardians of the Galaxy, have filled this book with their own unique travel tips, from where to get a drink in Alfheim to dealing with Ego the Living Planet.





2.17.2017

Book Review: Pigments of Your Imagination

A good place to start. (4 stars)

I've been in an awful creative rut for about a year now. I just can't seem to make my innate abilities flow. It happens to many creative types but I think we all handle it differently. One of my ways is by looking into new materials or types of creative expression (writing and digital art are my usual areas of strength). It's often just what I need to kickstart my mojo.

Something I've been really interested in recently is alcohol ink. I wasn't sure where to get started or how to even use it when I picked up Pigments of Your Imagination. After reading it I don't think working with alcohol inks is really for me but I love the effect, the variety of styles, and overall how fresh it feels. If you've been interested in learning more about how to create with alcohol inks I think this is a fantastic resource.

Notes: Review copy received through NetGalley.


Pigments of Your Imagination: Creating with Alcohol Inks by Cathy Taylor

Art, Crafting, Hobbies
Print (200 pages, SCHIFFER)
Discover magic! Join the vibrant, prismatic world of luminous alcohol inks. Mercurial, versatile, inexpensive, and wildly colorful, alcohol inks are one of the newest mediums to hit the art community. This essential guide for working with alcohol inks has been greatly expanded, with new tips and techniques and more than 50 additional works from guest artists in an inspiring gallery. Discover how to choose which inks to use for each project and how to experiment with a wide variety of fascinating techniques and tools. Learn how to work on a variety of surfaces, including paper, glass, metal, fabric, and plastic, through detailed, step-by-step demos. Perfect for all levels, from the beginning craftsperson to the professional artist, Pigments of Your Imagination offers a broad insight into the expansive world of alcohol inks. Explore the limits of your artistic ingenuity, and jump-start your creativity!


2.11.2017

Book Review: Make in a Day: Paper Flowers


Truly beginner friendly! (5 stars)


A childhood friend of mine had one of the most talented grandmothers I've met. She was a marvel with many mediums but it was her papercrafts that always had me in awe. Her paper flowers were gorgeous and so beautiful I never thought to even try making them.

To my astonishment, this book breaks several types down in ways that seem remarkably easy to follow. I'd dare even go so far as to suggest many of these can be done by a patient child. 

If you're interested in dabbling in paper flower crafting or trying to make a homemade gift for Mother's Day or perhaps Valentine's, I much recommend giving this book a shot. I really look forward to getting my materials together and giving a few of these projects a go.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Make in a Day: Paper Flowers by Amanda Evanston Freund

Papercraft, Crafts, Floral
Digital/Print (64 pages, DOVER)
These colorful blooms will brighten any room — and best of all, you can make them in a day! You'll find that it's a cinch to add a spring-like air to any room with a bouquet of daffodils, a cluster of hyacinths, or a vivid bunch of favorite blossoms, and no previous experience is necessary.
Each book in Dover's Make in a Day series presents 15 projects with illustrated step-by-step instructions. The beginner-friendly projects are ideal for anyone wishing to whip up something simple but special. Creating paper flowers adds a personal touch and a dash of handmade charm. Supplies are easy to obtain and readily available at major craft stores. Other titles in the series include Make in a Day: Modern Wreaths and Make in a Day: Pompom Crafts.




2.10.2017

Hack Your Workday Lunches

Hack Your Workday Lunches (5 stars)

After years of being a stay/work-at-home-mom I recently found myself with my first outside job in more than a decade. It's been awesome, except I was way out of practice in the packed lunch department. For kids it's often simple since mine in particular lives off of Goldfish and Go-Gurt. But when it comes to my lunch I need a little bit more to sustain me. 

Packed offers some really useful ideas to improve your lunch. If you're trying to eat clean or simply just eat more nourishing meals you'll find recipes, tips and tricks, and ways to make lunchtime something to look forward to.

If you hate to cook and/or don't like vegetables and pulses I think you may find a lot of this won't really be your thing. Yet, for those who genuinely want to try things like meal prep or taking your soups, salads, and sandwiches to the next level it's a book that I think will inspire you in ways that will make meal prep or cooking feel like self-care instead of drudgery. 

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.


Packed: Lunch Hacks to Squeeze More Nutrients Into Your Day by Becky Alexander & Michelle Lake 


Release Date: February 14th

Recipes, Cookbook, Clean Eating, Meal Planning
Print/Digital (176 pages, NOURISH)
OMG love this lunch purse!
The workday packed lunch - so often a repetitive and disappointing affair - is easier than you think to get right; it just requires a little forward planning. Throw out the soggy sandwiches and fill your Thermos or lunch box with nutrient-packed goodies that are simple to prepare, delicious - and full of things that are good for you. Contemporary and seasonal recipes are supported by sound nutrition to bring you this hip and easy guide on lunch on the go. While food writer Becky Alexander shows you how to knock up simple and satisfying bites - from vibrant Skip to the Beet Soup to satisfying Good Mood Cookies - nutritionist Michelle Lake will explain how that lunch is doing you good. Chapters include:
• Get Up and Go for those breakfasts on the run
• Raw Goodness salads
• Filling Flasks of satisfying hot food
• Fork-free Fare: sandwiches, dips and other cutlery-free eats
• Snacks and Bites for the inbetween times and treats
By strategic shopping, making things ahead, and using your fridge and freezer craftily, creating exciting and healthy lunches every day becomes almost effortless. Health benefits of particular foods are featured throughout, so you know your blood sugar will be balanced, the nutrition will be packed in and your brain will be kept in top gear. Because work is harder when you're not fully fuelled!






2.09.2017

Book Review: It's All Absolutely Fine

This "Emotional Smoothie Recipe" is Grand (4 stars)

I hate winter. By early February I'm ready to crawl into bed and never come out. Vitamin D supplements help a lot but they don't quite make me laugh like a good humorous book can. I picked this one up not being familiar with Rubyetc other than having seen a comic or two online. It was totally worth trying a new comic.

Simple and goofy the art may be, but these comics are quite affecting. The kind that'll make you laugh until you cry because they're quite relatable if you suffer from mental illness as I do. In fact, I found the title fitting from two different angles... that of someone who says they're fine when they're not and that of someone who knows it's okay to be struggling, afraid, lacking confidence.

If you enjoy the work of Jenny Lawson or Allie Brosh this is right up your alley!

Notes: ARC received through NetGalley.

It's All Absolutely Fine - Life Is Complicated So I've Drawn It Instead by Ruby Elliot


Humor, Comics, Mental Health

Digital/Print (256 pages, ANDREWS MCMEEL)

Explore the highs and lows of modern life through the sharp, dark wit of Ruby Elliot—creator of the massively popular Tumblr account, Rubyetc, which has over 210k followers and growing. Ruby’s simple drawings of not-so-simple issues capture the humor and melancholy of everyday life. Her comics appeal to both new adults who are beginning to explore these subjects and to battle-tested veterans of the daily struggles of life with mental illness.
It’s All Absolutely Fine is an honest and unapologetic account of day-to-day life as a groaning, crying, laughing sentient potato being for whom things are often absolutely not fine. Through simple, humorous drawings and a few short narratives, the book encompasses everything from mood disorders, anxiety, and issues with body image through to existential conversations with dogs and some unusually articulate birds.
With each chapter a particular set of struggles is picked up, looked at, and squished about a bit using visuals before being put down again with a little more resolve. Problems related to mental health that can be very devastating and even isolating are discussed openly in a way people are often told not to, but this is as much a book about the human emotional experience that touches all of us as it is about mental health. Through the drawings, the reader is shown that it is okay to struggle, and that it is okay to talk about struggling, to not undermine oneself by yelling ‘it’s fine’ when it isn’t, and while all this is going on to know that it is absolutely possible to hold on to hope, and of course humor.
Building on Rubyetc's huge online presence, It's All Absolutely Fine includes mostly new material, both written and illustrated, and is inspirational, empowering, and entertaining. Hope and tenacity abound in this book that is as heartening as it is hilarious.





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