Ramona Barry & Rebecca Jobson’s The Handmade Life-A Companion to Modern Crafting

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Calling all crafters! This book has something for everyone, whether you are a master in the needlecrafts, or if you prefer the weaving and macramé crafts. You’ll even find some of the paper crafts as well as at few between crafts, such as dyeing, clay work, and jewelry making. I call them between crafts as they seem to cross the crafting borders.

Story Telling: This is another ‘how-to’ book.

Likes: We have the basics of many different crafts. We get the basic steps, both a general and more specific toolbox requirements, and example projects.

Dislikes: There are only a couple of problems that I can see with this book. One: there is only one project to any of these crafts. Of course this is a given when you have so many craft styles in one book.

And two: to be honest, this is more a matter of tastes, but some of the example photos were ugly. But they show what is possible in the styles.

Favorite Project: The rugs, the basic pot hanger, and the Double-Duty Backpack look like fun to make.

Conclusion: This is a useful book for those who wish to broaden their crafting horizons. Enjoy it, see which craft you want to try. Just remember to pick up extra books if you want to master a new craft.

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Mike Klaassen’s Scenes and Sequels-How to Write Page-Turning Fiction

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Mr. Klaassen has been working as an author for quite some time. Between his own books, and those that have hit the bestsellers’ lists (I’m still lost as to how “Twilight” made that list), he believes that he has found a key ingredient to their successes. Let’s see how right he is.

Story Telling: This is a ‘how-to’ book. And like mist ‘how-to’ books, this one is aimed to a rather narrow audience.

Likes: This book may be a niche book, but it isn’t as narrow as genre-specific writing books.

The scenes and sequels idea, ergo the action sections and the bridging sections, makes sense on so many levels.

Dislikes: It’s not really a dislike as much as a warning. This is a book designed to help you from the second draft on. Do Not Try This On Your First Draft!

Favorite Quote: This sums up the idea perfectly. “Scenes require tight, moment-by-moment development for effective presentation, but you have more flexibility with sequels, which may be loosely organized around the ever-changing feelings and thoughts of the character.”

Conclusion: In my opinion, this is an important tool for trouble-shooting your manuscript. If you want to write your own novels, then please consider picking this scene up.

Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived in…Poland

I received this book courtesy of Mrs. Roman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: I would say something exciting about Poland for the opening here, but the only thing I know about the place is a little bit of World War II history, and that’s where one of the more recent Popes originated from. This might be an interesting trip.

Story Telling: We get a cultural travelogue for children again.

Artwork: We get a mix of photography and comic book drawings.

Likes: We get some basic words, for the culture, and the pronunciation key.

Dislikes: You might have a bit of a problem with some of the words. This is a harder book, because of the Polish language.

Conclusion: This was and interesting book. Enjoy it with your little ones.

Ed “Skip” McLaughlin & Wyn Lydecker’s The Purpose is Profit-The Truth About Starting and Building Your Own Business

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Are you interested in starting your own business? Do you think you have something that could change the world? This could be a great opportunity if you know where to start. Lucky for us, Mr. McLaughlin has a habit of starting his own businesses, and he believes that he has found the secret of success. Shall we find out how right he is?

Story Telling: I bet you are thinking that this is a textbook, or otherwise dry reading, but this is a bit different. Mr. McLaughlin used a memoir base, combined with bullet points to illustrate his important information.

Likes: It’s always good to see someone try to help the next person in line. Mr. McLaughlin and Ms. Lydecker tried to make this book as clear as they possibly could. They also included two guides that will help you get started.

Dislikes: Some of the lingo is a bit hard to understand. But, I think that may just be learning a new type of English, business English.

Favorite Quote: Mr. McLaughlin couldn’t have opened the book any better. “It’s your time. Take charge. Start up now.”

Conclusion: This is a very promising book. You can’t really go wrong with getting advice from those who’ve gone before you. If you are starting your own business, or considering it, give this book a shot.

Wendy Paul’s 101 Gourmet Cakes Simply From Scratch

Overview: Cake bakers rejoice. Here’s a cookbook that contains many recipes from the Hummingbird to the German Chocolate Cake.

Story Telling: This is a cookbook, one complete with photos and tips for the finishing touches.

Likes: Many of these cakes look beautiful, and there are great tips for fondant and butter cream.

Dislikes: Well, it comes to some of the instructions. When it came down to the Lemon Cream Frosting, the instructions caused me to blow the recipe.

Favorite Recipe: German Chocolate Cake would be it.

Conclusion: This is a good book, just get a second opinion on the techniques.

Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived In…Viking Europe

I received this book courtesy of Mrs. Roman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: The time machine is running again. This time, we are returning to the medieval ages. We’ll be seeing the Vikings’ point-of-view. What can we learn from this trip?

Story Telling: This is another historical culture book aimed at children.

Artwork: Our illustrations look like a mix of comic book and watercolor styles this time around.

Likes: I don’t know how she managed it, but Mrs. Roman was able to talk about the Vikings without either ignoring their darkness, nor terrorizing the children. It’s impressive.

Dislikes: The language was pretty hard to read. You very well might have heard some of these names before, but hearing and reading are two different things.

Conclusion: This is an interesting book. My usual admonishment of doing your own homework applies, but in this case I would strongly caution against letting the younger members of the family join you. This age of history was pretty gory.