Using just four simple shapes, Origami 101 teaches makers to create 43 different figures from a simple penguin to a human being.
I love the simplicity of Origami 101. Everything is clearly explained. The use of a glow to indicate which part of the paper is moving when folding is brilliant. The step-by-step instructions and the slow increasing of the reader’s skills when following the order of projects within the book ensure everyone’s origami success. 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Quarry, and NetGalley for a copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: Aug 21 2018, crafting, origami
If you love tacos (and who doesn’t), the Taco Tuesday Cookbook is for you!
Filled with 52 taco plus guacamole, salsas, seasonings, beverages and tortilla recipes, this cookbook has something for every taste. Starting with eight easy breakfast tacos, the author includes tacos made with chicken, pork, beef, fish and shrimp. There are also eight vegetarian choices like Blackened Zucchini Tacos and Curried Cauliflower Tacos with Pineapple Salsa. If the thought of eating Mexican tacos every Tuesday for a year doesn’t appeal, don’t worry. There are Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos, Asian Thai Rib Tacos and Philly Cheesesteak Tacos. Skillet Beef Tacos and Food Truck Tacos are available for the traditionalist too. Overall, there is plenty of variety here. Most of the recipes take 20-30 minutes to cook though there are recipes using a slow cooker too.
I picked up the Taco Tuesday Cookbook because I’m gluten-free and corn tortillas are much tastier than most of the gluten-free breads. Even though some of the recipes call for flour tortillas, the author has included a gluten-free “flour” tortilla recipe or store-bought corn tortillas could easily be substituted. All the recipes include pictures that look delicious! The only flaw is no nutritional information is included. Still, this book is recommended for home cooks looking for fast and easy weeknight meals. 4 stars!
Thanks to Fair Winds Press and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: Aug 28 2018, Cookbook, tacos
Bill Murray’s movie career is explored along with various artists’ interpretations of him in numerous media in the Art of Being Bill.
Bill’s life (in movies at least) is broken up chronologically into eight chapters:
- The Jester
- The Thinker
- The Intense
- The Charming
- The Exasperated
- The Melancholy
- The Complex
- The Legend.
Each of Bill’s movies are described in a one-page movie synopsis accompanied by the movie poster and a short behind-the-scenes’ blurb. Then two to four artists offer their interpretation of Bill at that point in his life and career. Using seeds, pastels, pencils, paints and software, each picture is engaging. At the beginning, Bill was portrayed as a clown, a suave player and even a punk rocker. By the end, the representations became increasing melancholy and regretful—just as Bill appeared in his later works.
The art varies widely in media, style and quality but each are valid interpretations of their subject. The text does a excellent job exploring the experiences of an aging comic actor’s early attempts to be taken seriously (i.e., The Razor’s Edge) to actually being taken seriously later in his career (i.e., Lost in Translation). It is easy to see the same trajectory in other comedians’ lives that did not end as well (i.e., Jerry Lewis and Robin Williams). Overall, the Art of Being Bill is more than just the sum of its wide-ranging artwork and provides a thoughtful reflection on life itself. 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Race Point Publishing, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: art, Aug 28 2018, biography
Who can forget the #1 villain in three seasons of the Apprentice? Omarosa really spills the t in Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.
After a year serving in Trump’s White House, Omarosa is unceremoniously fired by Chief of Staff Kelly. Trump appears to know nothing about it. Trump’s family attempts to coerce Omarosa into not speaking out by offering her an equivalent annual salary of $150,000 for working on Trump’s reelection campaign. But they don’t know Omarosa!
Since Omarosa seemed anything but stupid in her Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice appearances, it seems rather disingenuous of her to say she never noticed Trump’s racism or sexism. Her later assertation that she and Trump were using each other seems more accurate.
Some of the information here is shocking even to those inured by the unconventional Trump presidency. Drivers passing me on the freeway while I was listening to this book are excused from wondering about the crazy woman alternately laughing hysterically and screaming in astonishment at her car stereo.
I attempted to read the previous Trump tell all, The Fire and the Fury, earlier this year but it was a snoozefest. Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House is anything but. I listened to it at 1.5 speed because I just couldn’t wait for the next episode. Omarosa throws most of Trump’s family and close aides under the bus. Then backs up and runs over them again in true Suge Knight style. Here are just a few samples. Was there a missionary position component to Trump’s official spiritual advisor’s ministry with him? Is Kellyanne really not as dumb as she acts? Is Betsy Devos’ nickname Ditsy accurate because she is dumber than she acts (though that appears to be a pretty low bar)? Is Trump sliding into dementia? Does he go into day-long “nuclear” rages at perceived and actual slights? Are his early morning tweets just as much a surprise to his staff? Is Melania a great mother just waiting for the presidency to end to get a divorce? Is she using her clothing and body language to send a not-very-subtle signal to the Donald? All this and more are in Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House. Is it all true? Who knows, but I can guarantee that it is immensely entertaining! It is highly recommended for everyone who has wondered what life is, or could be, like in the Trump White House. 5 stars!
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: Aug 14 2018, memoir, Politics, tell-all
Humans have an obvious impact on the things they create. In Where are we Heading?, the author postulates that the things created also impact humans—and not always in a positive way.
The author uses the creation of the spinning wheel and its subsequent industrial machine replacement to illustrate the impact of things on humanity. The spinning wheel allowed the poor to create not only clothes for their families but also items to sell to fund other basic necessities. Once industrial machines appeared, individuals couldn’t compete with their speed or consistent quality. This forced many people to move to cities and deplorable working conditions. Eventually, labor unions and environmental laws forced the factories to move to more business friendly, and poorer, countries overseas. The book also looks at more modern creations like gasoline and electric cars.
There is much to be learned within this book and definitely much to think about. Be warned, it reads like a textbook, which I’m sure it is destined to be. The author has never met a term that he hasn’t stopped to define—even relatively common ones such as “thing”. If you are fine with that, I think you will enjoy Where are we Heading? but for most readers, I will give it 3 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, Yale University Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: Aug 21 2018, economics
Sons of Cain is the story of real serial killers from the stone age to now.
The book is divided into three parts. Part I contains definitions, Earth’s history and man’s place in it, and psychological diseases that may be causing serial killers to be more frequent now. Part II and III are the meat of the book focusing on pre-Industrial society and from Jack the Ripper forward, respectively.
You can skip Part I and just look up anything for which you need additional information later. It’s written like a textbook—informative but bone dry. In addition, if you are not a fan of Darwin’s evolution, it goes down that rabbit hole for a bit too.
The remaining parts are a mixed bag of pedantic, interesting and fascinating. My favorites were the 1874 Bostonian 14-year-old Jesse Pomeroy, Jack the Ripper and the extensive analysis of why serial killers began to be more prevalent in 1960s to peaking in the 1990s.
Sons of Cain is an interesting true tale of serial killers. It is recommended for readers or viewers of thrillers containing serial killers like Silence of the Lambs and Dexter. It is highly recommended to writers of stories involving serial killers. And, of course, current, past or future serial killers (you know who you are) should pick up this book to avoid making the same mistakes as their predecessors (just kidding). 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Berkeley, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: Aug 14 2018, serial killer, true crime
To an opioid user, either on “legal” OxyContin or heroin, the goal is to avoid the debilitating withdrawal of being Dopesick. Most have only two options, steal or sell the same drugs to other, usually new, users to finance their own habit.
Moving from rural Virginia in 1996 to suburbs and cities by the mid-2000s, the opioid crisis is now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. More than 300,000 have died in the past 15 years and it is projected that the same number will die in the next five years.
This is a story of how doctors tried, and mostly failed, to alert the producer, the government, and finally the media to the very real dangers of OxyContin. But corporate and physician greed overrode the warnings. After the government did begin to notice the epidemic and strengthen the usage guidelines, users turned to illegal heroin to avoid the Dopesick caused by OxyContin withdrawal.
Dopesick has valuable information for anyone who has friends or relatives with an opioid problem. However, it doesn’t have many solutions. It does have one clear warning:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”—George Santayana
This same pattern of an overuse of a miracle drug becoming a scourge on the populace was first seen in 1864. Returning soldiers from the Civil War were prescribed morphine, which led to the same addiction and other social consequences as the OxyContin crisis. Hopefully, it will not take all the current addicts’ deaths to move past the OxyContin epidemic as that was the way the Civil War era issue was resolved. 3 stars.
Thanks to the Little, Brown and Company and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: Aug 7 2018, heroin, OxyContin
If you are new to aromatherapy, Stephanie Tourles’s Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide is a perfect starting point.
The author lists the top 11 oils that every practitioner should have available:
- German Chamomile
- Roman chamomile
- Clove bud
- Tea tree
She also lists 14 more oils that are nice to have but not essential.
For each oil, the history, its natural state, safety warnings, and what it cures both physically and psychologically are listed. Finally, each oil contains several recipes for its use. These recipes vary between balms, massage oils, roll-ons, mists, sprays, dropper bottles, bath salts, gels, beverages, and nasal “sniffer” tubes. Each recipe includes how to use the result. Many include recipe modifications for children and warnings about when usage in not recommended (i.e., on open wounds or for asthmatics). The recipes include deodorant, breath spray, toothpaste, mouthwash, bathroom spray, lip gloss, insect repellent, flavored toothpicks, and body wash. There are recipes that cure an amazing amount of illnesses like headaches, backaches, sore feet, dry hands, menstrual cramps, and acne. The recipes also assist healing of flu/colds, sinus infections, insect bites, hemorrhoids, dermatitis, eczema, burns and other wound care. Some recipes give psychological benefits like energy, stress reduction, concentration and happiness.
As the title indicates, this is a book only for those just starting their journey into aromatherapy. However, this book serves that reader well. It includes only the need-to-know information written in plain English—no chemistry degree needed. Most recipes need less than five ingredients. The in-depth coverage of a limited amount of oils mean the initial cost to try a few recipes would be lower than in more advanced books. If you are curious about aromatherapy, you should read this book. 4 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, Storey Publishing, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: aromatherapy, Aug 7 2018
The Writer’s Guide to Wattpad is an excellent resource for new writers and those frustrated with typical ebook distribution channels.
Wattpad allows writers to have a personal relationship with their readers while building their fan base and social media presence. While it is free and easy to create content, this book shares tips for increasing the benefits of using a non-monetized platform.
The Writer’s Guide to Wattpad is a loosely connected series of essays by real Wattpad users. Here are just a few of the over 20 articles. Wattpad readers are 23 times more likely to read a book with a cover. One essay gives concrete steps for getting a cover for $6 or less. One chapter covers the importance of choosing your Wattpad user name. Another explains how to use serialization to your advantage. Understanding your genre, fan base and competition is the subject of several essays. 90% of Wattpad users are young Gen Z or millennials. Those readers could be your lifelong fans. Cultivate them by responding to constructive comments and take the high road by ignoring unkind or irrelevant comments.
With over 65 million Wattpad users, it is hard to ignore it as a platform for writing success. It is a great tool to teach writers what works and what doesn’t as decided by readers rather than jaded or money-motivated publishers and agents.
The Writer’s Guide to Wattpad is a useful resource both on how to use Wattpad and whether its democratic feeling is correct for your writing or personal style. My only issue with the book is the format of providing 25 essays by multiple authors with no short intros connecting them together. 3 stars!
Thanks to Writer’s Digest Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: Aug 7 2018, writing guide
Enter this book giveaway to grab a free copy of I See Life Through Rosé Colored Glasses by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serretella.
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars in my review earlier this week and now you have a chance to win this hilarious book for yourself.
Giveaway begins July 10, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. PDT and ends July 19, 2018, at 11:59 P.M. PDT.
How To Enter
Complete the entry form below.
Enter once daily (optional).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.
Open to residents of Canada and the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
Winners will be selected at random on or about July 20, 2018.
Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Posted in Giveaways, Humor, Non-fiction Tagged with: Jul 19 2018
Hit by writer’s block on your novel? To push that block off your shoulder, try writing magazine articles while also working on your masterwork.
With newspapers closing, “91% of US adults [still] read print magazines.”
This guide is filled with practical advice to write targeted articles that will make some cash and build your brand. From finding ideas, researching markets, staying organized and writing queries, there is much to be done before the article is even written.
I love this Guide to Magazine Article Writing! So useful! So straightforward! 5 stars!
Thanks to Writer’s Digest and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: #FrugalFridays, Jul 24 2018, writing guide
How many people multi-task daily? I know I do because I have so much to do in each 24-hour day. However, it does lead me to not get as much enjoyment out of each task. Mindfulness: Being Mindful in Your Everyday Life states that not focusing on one task at a time leads to living life on autopilot, stress, depression and anxiety.
The book’s solution is mindfulness or paying attention to what you are doing right now. It has some easily adopted habits to put a bit of mindfulness into your day no matter how busy it is. At work, take a five-minute break to relax and just focus on your breathing. While walking during your usual tasks, focus on your feet hitting and lifting off the ground. When eating snacks, put them in a bowl so you won’t eat the whole bag distractly while watching tv or surfing the web.
Even the book’s short length will save your time for mindfully doing something else. I read one much longer book about mindfulness previously. After about 100 pages, I decided that I just didn’t have the time or energy to spend 30 minutes a day to meditate in a quiet room. Mindfulness: Being Mindful in Your Everyday Life doesn’t require that kind of commitment. You can save time (and calories) by not eating a whole bag of chips. No one at work will know that you are focusing on your breathing at your desk. You can pay attention to the movement of your feet when walking into a grocery store or walking your dog.
This book is highly recommended for those busy people who are intrigued by the idea of enjoying their life more but don’t want to spend much time to see if mindfulness is for them. 4 stars!
Posted in Kindle Unlimited, Non-fiction Tagged with: self-help, wellness
Snake mating balls! Unusual holiday benefits of steroids! The cheap high of the Container Store’s false promises!
We’ve all been there. Okay, maybe not…but we all agree that life is funny especially when someone else is fending off its slings and arrows. Just like life, I See Life through Rosé Colored Glasses has no easily discernible plot. It just kinda rolls over everything in its way. Most of the stories here are only a few pages long making them a perfect choice for grocery queues and doctor’s waiting rooms (and much less frustrating than the high levels of Candy Crush).
First, I love Lisa Scottoline’s thrillers. The only reason I requested this book was because I was curious. I always assumed that mystery/thriller writers are rather glum and constantly thinking of original ways to murder people (hopefully only characters but who really knows). However, this book was hilarious! It reminded of the Erma Bombeck “families are so wacky” style of books from my youth combined with Dave Barry’s “Florida citizens are crazy” books. Except containing large Italian Catholic families that are both wacky and crazy. Despite being nothing like any of those adjectives, it is easy to relate to—or unfortunately relive—many of the scenes from the book.
Btw, I just refuse to use FaceTime or Skype, even at work—problem solved! Again, this book is gloriously absurd and, I know this is judgey Lisa, fully earns 5 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, St Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Diane's Favorites, Humor, Non-fiction Tagged with: Family, Jul 8 2018
Otherworldly Encounters gives voluminous antidotal evidence of aliens among us.
From mysterious flying objects to face-to-face encounters with aliens, this book has it all. Focusing on the author’s experience as the Maine State Director of MUFON (Mutual UFO Network, it reports claims from 1645-2017. The book has a few photos but frequently references online sources. It also mentions Hanger 1 on the History Channel produced by MUFON.
Otherworldly Encounters definitely will make the reader think. It is a good compilation of short UFO accounts that can be researched further online.
Bottom line: I assume that our government is hiding many things from its citizens. There has to be a reason that every president’s hair goes white almost immediately after taking office regardless of their age. Look at Obama! Is it aliens? Is it stealth weaponry? Is it time travelers from our future after nuclear winter has enlarged their eyes and made their skin gray? Are Hollywood movies, like Men in Black and Close Encounters, made intentionally to confuse the actual sightings that are reported with fiction? Probably many, if not all, are true. You owe it to yourself to read this book if you believe in the possibility of even one being true. Just to see the overwhelmingly similarity of the accounts. 4 stars!
Thanks to Llewellyn Publications and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: Jul 8 2018, UFOs
The Future of Terrorism includes a well-researched and comprehensive history of terrorism from antiquity through 2017. Its section on terrorism’s future is more divisive based as it is on the current political climate in the United States.
The book has three parts: terrorism in history, modern terrorism and the future of terrorism. It is interesting to learn that terrorism has been around forever.
“Terrorism is not only a product of bad governance but also a manifestation of youthful idealism.”
Obviously, both bad goverance and youthful idealism are not a new phenomenon.
Why is terrorism’s history relevant? Because the Islamic State (aka ISIS) is a “hodgepodge of the best approaches from the history of terrorism.” Modern digital life has changed the way terrorist organizations recruit (through the web) and frighten the populace (YouTube beheadings). However, the goals and results remain the same then and now—overthrow and recreate a society more fair (at least to the groups to which the terrorists belong).
The Future of Terrorism is recommended to any reader interested in how insurrection has changed society from the French and Russian Revolutions to the modern middle east. However, Trump supporters will not appreciate the linking of him to alt-right terrorism and conspiracy theories even as left-leaning readers will be saying “duh” to something so obvious.
The book uses statistics to prove that the threat of terrorism is less than the threat of gun violence—at least in the United States. However, the preeminent threat is the overreaction to terrorism that threatens our nation’s freedoms and our mandate to accept the tired, hungry and huddled masses yearning to be free.
While the writing style of the Future of Terrorism is academic (think of a 1950s college history textbook), the information is valuable. 3 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Thomas Dunne Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: Jul 3 2018, Politics, terrorism
Mastering Plot Twists pulls back the curtain on how the writing process works.
Excellent manual on plotting, character motivation and including the unexpected within your writing. Each chapter includes a brief lesson, a multitude of examples, and exercises for the reader to apply the knowledge to their own works. There are also two case studies or stories, which the author uses to illustrate her points. Not only are the case studies from different genres—political thriller and middle grade fantasy—so are the examples making this a useful book for any author. Each chapter concludes with a brief summary of its takeaways. The two tools provided, the TRD (twist, reversal and danger) Development Checklist and the ICE (intrigue, credible and evidence) assessment model will show the underlying skeleton of any book. Jane’s Plotting Road Map will shorten the overwhelming process of writing into manageable chunks.
While marketed to writers, Mastering Plot Twists is an excellent resource for readers and reviewers interested in the mechanics of writing. For both aspiring and experienced writers, there are many tips and tricks to be found here. 4 stars!
Thanks to Writer’s Digest and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: Jun 26 2018, writing guide