Posted in Book Review

Anywhere, Anytime Art: Illustration: An artist’s guide to illustration on the go! – Betsy Beier



Anywhere, Anytime Art: Illustration is the perfect “how to” guide to make art on the go using a combination of medium and style.

The author introduces the reader to scientific illustration, botanical illustration, portraiture, fashion illustration, food illustration and so on. She presents 12 creative projects as well as illustration styles, tools (pencils: graphite pencils, watercolor pencils; sketchbooks, paint, brushes, watercolor, gouache, and more), and techniques to create storytelling illustrations.

She explores different color palettes and shares tips on how to combine colors for subjects and evoke different moods.

The projects in this book are easy to follow: for each project, the author provides tips on media to use, step-by-step sketches, adding patterns and details, and lastly, adding color for the final touches.

This book also covers doodling; the author shows you how to doodle with different shapes, and how to draw and color scenery. For instance, a scene at the farmer’s market. She guides the reader on how to make patterns, illustrate a meal—be it in a coffee shop, a restaurant, a local grocery store—and the Japanese Kaiseki meal. She provides some high-level tips on drawing fashion.

Other projects include hand lettering, patterns—inspired by different countries—and collage illustration. The reader will learn how to create collages using newspaper clippings, tickets and other ephemera from their travels, draw and paint on ticket subs to create memorabilia.

This book will teach you how to find inspiration wherever you are and find beauty in the mundane. I recommend to art lovers.

  • Pages: 128
  • Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group – Walter Foster (14 May 2019)

Available on Amazon


Posted in Book Review

The Modern Cheesemaker: Making and cooking with cheeses at home – Morgan McGlynn


In The Modern Cheesemaker, McGlynn shares 18 cheesemaking tips and over 40 cheese recipes inspired by her love for cheesemaking from a young age. This guide provides a complete hands-on guide to making cheese from scratch.

The author opens this book with by introducing the reader to the history of cheesemaking, cheese seasons and the best season for optimal cheese production; she elaborates using cheese from the mountains (The Alps and Pyrenees).

The first part of this book is devoted to the ingredients: cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, acid, salt etc). Here, the author suggests the quality of milk for the best results. This section also covers cheesemaking equipment (Cheesecloth or muslin, large saucepan, thermometer, wooden spoon etc), and the basic steps in making cheese with illustrated step-by-step instructions to make the cheesemaking process accessible for anyone to try at home.

The cheeses in this book are divided into five categories: Fresh cheese, cream and soft cheese, Goat’s cheese, semi-hard cheese, Hard cheese and blue cheese. Each entry begins with a brief overview of the cheese as well as a summary of the cheesemaking process.

Each of the cheeses listed here is further broken down into different kinds of cheese, as well as recipes to try at home. For instance, under Fresh Cheese, you will find kinds of cheese followed by a recipe or two. Some examples are curd cheese ( curd cheese dip), Ricotta, Mozzarella, Mascarpone (Mascarpone Chocolate Pots with Honeymade Honeycomb. The chapter also features a star cheesemaker from different regions in the world.

Under the Cream and Soft Cheese section, you will find a variety of delectable cheeses such as cream cheese, cottage cheese, Brie (Grilled Brie with Caramelized apple and honey).

In the subsequent chapters, (Semi-hard cheese and Hard cheese), the author presents more challenging cheesemaking techniques and introduces the art of ageing cheese, known as affinage. She shows the reader how to make semi-hard cheese such as Paneer cheese, Swiss cheese, Halloumi and Feta cheese including recipes such as Cheese straws and Raclette. Hard cheese: Cheddar, Red Leicester and Gouda.

The author also includes some cheesemonger tips and offers different ways to flavor cheese. Another chapter is dedicated to cheese pairing and explains the balance of tastes, textures, and fragrances, as well as the author’s favorite pairings. Included in this book are seasonal cheese boards featuring cheese in all four seasons and tips on storing cheese.

The Modern Cheesemaker concludes with an extensive list of additives and cultures used for cheesemaking, equipment and where to source them, as well as the author’s selections of cheeses from around the world.

Highly recommend to cheese lovers and experienced hobbyists.

  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group – White Lion Publishing (21 March 2019)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

Knitted Animal Friends: Knit 12 Well-dressed Animals, Their Clothes and Accessories – Louise Crowther


Knitted Animal Friends is a beautiful collection of knitted animal toys with over 40 knitting patterns and tips on how to design these toys.
The book offers tools and materials for making these patterns (yarn, needles, buttons, stuffing etc).

Also included in this book are the standard measurements for the body parts of the animals. Each chapter consists of a short profile of the knitted animal as well as the animal’s body and outfit pattern. The book is filled with beautiful photos and the patterns are easy to follow. I would recommend.

  • Pages:128
  • Publisher: SewandSo ( 7 May 2019)
Posted in Book Review

The Mother-in-Law – Sally Hepworth

in law 2.jpg

This is a well-written thriller that explores the family dynamics in an Australian setting. Having lost her mother at the age of 13, Lucy has since longed for a mother figure in her life. The Mother-in-Law examines the complicated relationship between Lucy and Diana, her mother-in-law.

The story is told from the perspectives of Lucy and Diana, and alternates between the past and the present, finally revealing the truth about Diana’s death. Good storyline with interesting characters. Overall a good read.

  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press ( 23 April 2019)
Posted in Book Review

The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green – Erica Boyce


The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green is a beautiful story of family, forgiveness and love.

Daniel makes crop circles. He travels across the country, creating intricate patterns in farmers’ fields that baffle people. Though he belongs to an anonymous group of crop circle artists, he prefers to work alone. He has come to Vermont to fulfil a dying man’s wish: create a crop circle on his farm.

There, we meet Sam, his wife Molly and their children; Nessa and Charlie. We follow their journey as Daniel sets out to create the crop circle. Soon we are drawn into the lives of these characters. As the story progresses, we observe the change in family dynamics and it’s not long before Daniel gets drawn into their family struggles.

The story is told through multiple viewpoints and interspersed with backstories of the characters. The characters are genuine and sympathetic and there were moments of difficulties that made me feel close to them.

Little details through Daniel’s perspective draw the reader into the setting of this small town:

Sometimes, I think the size of a farming town should be measured not by the number of horses or stoplights but by the number of old men sitting outside the general store. Munsen’s a pretty small town, so it has three, with pants pulled up over their bellies and big owl eyes behind their glasses.

I enjoyed the suspense in this book and I was left wondering whether the crop circle would be finished. The ending was quite satisfying and uplifting. Overall, a very enjoyable read, fitting title and a gorgeous book cover. I would highly recommend!

  • Pages: 336
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (2 April 2019)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

Sweet Remedies: Healing Herbal Honeys – Dawn Combs


Sweet Remedies is packed with lots of information about honey. It is filled with recipes and combinations of honey and herbs for medicinal purposes. It introduces us to how honey is made (how bees produce honey), properties of honey, and tips on how to harvest honey.

This book gives a fascinating insight into the history of the healing properties of honey. It also covers various healing traditions around the world. It also includes tips on blending herbs and honey to make Herbal Honey Soda, Infused Herbal Honey, Oxymel (a blend of Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey), and so on.

Sweet Remedies features some honey recipes including honey spreads, Honey Coated Granola, smoothies, as well as ideas for using infused honey. The author also guides the potential beekeeper on how to grow their honey and presents the best practices to ensure sustainable beekeeping.
Recommended to everyone.

  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (2 April 2019)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

Ida and the Whale – Rebecca Gugger


“What lies behind the sun, the moon, and the stars?”

What a delightful story for children! The illustrations in this book are stunning and whimsical. We follow Ida on her amazing journey with a flying whale. Ida and the Whale takes you on a fun adventure and it’s easy to get lost as we see the world through Ida’s eyes. Highly recommend!

  • Pages: 32
  • Publisher: NorthSouth Books ( 2 April 2019)

Available on Amazon

Posted in Book Review

Muddy: The Raccoon Who Stole Dishes – Griffin Ondaatje


Muddy: The Raccoon Who Stole Dishes is a cute story about a racoon named Muddy, who is a picky eater. Muddy doesn’t eat racoon food—instead, he prefers combing through garbage for leftover food. Moreover, he likes to eat on plates. I liked the illustrations and enjoyed the story—though the ending was a bit abrupt. Overall, an enjoyable read.

  • Pages: 32
  • Publisher: NorthSouth Books (2 April 2019)
Posted in Book Review

Living Decor: Plants, Potting and DIY Projects – Maria Colletti


Living Decor is a practical guide filled with ideas on how to design your botanical style with indoor houseplants such as moss, ferns, monsteras, terrariums and so on. This book is filled with step-by-step instruction, accompanied by photos to inspire the gardener to create their own gardening style.

Living Decor is divided into three parts: The first chapter introduces a design concept called Display Mixology which involves using a still-life portrait of objects. Here, the author gives an insight into her design style and her choice of houseplants. This chapter also covers plant care tips; watering the plants, light, photosynthesis and how to look out for bugs that may harm houseplants. For each houseplant mentioned in this book, the author also includes their botanical names; tips on how to place the plant to receive optimum sunlight, watering technique and the design mixology.

The second chapter features some indoor gardening styles, and planters suited for the houseplants. It also features planting techniques alongside step-by-step DIY projects to create your own design style. Here, you will find tips on how to match your houseplants with your home decor.

Finally, in the last chapter, you will find resources on where to get plants, planters and other design materials. This chapter also includes flea markets, craft fairs, and workshops; bloggers, and houseplant delivery service. I came away from the book knowing a great deal more about houseplants (including my aloe vera plant in my backyard 🙂

This book has renewed my passion for indoor gardening, and if you’re a plant lover like me, you will love this book.

  • Pages: 176
  • Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group – Cool Springs Press (19 March 2019)

Available on Amazon


Posted in Book Review

Wildflower Park – (Part 3): Oopsy Daisy – Bella Osborne


I enjoyed the part three of Wildflower Park. Sophie is in her third trimester and is ready to give her husband a second chance. And Dave is making a lot of effort to win Sophie back—you can’t fault him for trying to be romantic. Bert and Maurice, Anna’s cat are featured largely in this instalment. I enjoyed Bert’s conversations with Anna.

Hudson turns down an offer to head up their New York office and instead recommends Anna for the job.
What did Hudson want to talk to Anna about? Engaging plot, love the characters—I’m invested in all of them. Including Maurice. Looking forward to part 4 and definitely recommend.

You can read the reviews for Part 1 and Part 2

  • Publisher: Avon (18 March 2019)

Available on Amazon