Book Review – The Art of Stone Painting by F. Sehnaz Bac.

art-of-stone-painting

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Dover Publications for providing me with a free ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

I initially requested to review ‘The Art of Stone Painting’ for my two very artistic daughters to look over with me, but I soon fell in love with it myself and am now dying to have a go!

This proves it’s a great book for young and old alike I guess! Plus it comes across as good for all skill levels as the initial projects are very basic and simple, and the further you progress into the book, the higher the skill level required. But, in all honesty, if you’re a beginner like me and paced yourself and did each project as you go – one a week or longer – you could quite easily have the skill level required to do the trickier ones when you got to them! And if you are already experienced in this sort of art, you could easily pick and mix skills from throughout the book.

As I am a formatting and layout diva, here is my take on those – excellent! Clear, concise formatting, every picture and all the instructions are clearly marked and easy to follow. There is a great introduction into this type of art and includes the materials needed. So it truly is a great book for all ages from I’d say around the 8 to 10 year olds and up… But I am basing that on my own children who are very arty and love to read. All the same, the instructions and clear and easy to follow for children and adults alike. I, personally, would still do the project along with the child – one for them to make, one for me, as it’s something I’d love, we’d both enjoy and would give us some creative time together.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. The projects, instructions, clear images – all of it so simple and easy to use that it encourages people to give stone painting a go. Anyone interested in having some “me” time, or even parent and child craft time would really enjoy this book. So many things to try and so many ideas to share.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would, and it’s in my Amazon wish list right now. Loved it, was inspired by it and can see it as a fantastic way to spend some crafty hours with my children in the coming years ahead.

In summary: An easy to follow, inspiring and highly creative book that will have everyone’s inner artist wanting to try stone painting.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review -The Book Club Murders (The Oakwood Mystery Series) by Leslie Nagel

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4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group – Alibi for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

So, I have finally gotten a chance to read this book and it was so worth the wait! Well written, well mapped out, good strong characters and the right smattering of red herrings to get we mystery lovers all aquiver! 🙂

Okay, I will admit I found the array of secondary characters a bit too similar and confusing the start with  – the Agathas – but I put that down to the fact I started reading ‘The Book Club Murders’ while I was still finishing off another book and so was confusing myself. Not the writer’s fault at all. As, honestly, once I devoted myself full time to this book all the characters became easy to identify and remember as individuals.

I think the thing I really loved about the story is it handed you the clues as it went in such a casual way that not all of them even appeared to be red herrings… while also giving you info that you recall at the end as being important with a “duh, the book did tell us that!” I loved it! I do love a good mystery that tells a story, gets to the point, doesn’t pad things out too much and doesn’t try and drown you in so many red herrings you smell fishy for weeks later. ‘The Book Club Murders’ didn’t do any of that and so was a great read.

The protagonist was easy to relate to, as were her friends and family and there was just that nice bit of spice and sexy romance to really cover all the bases of mystery lovers – crime, colourful characters, a strong protagonist, great sidekicks and sexy men. What more could my cosy crime driven heart desire?

However, I do have to say the name of her shop kept giving me the giggles. As, you see, I read a lot of Regency stuff and have learnt a lot of the dialects and cants used in that era. And, well, “old hat” isn’t exactly a polite word to use. Google it if you need to know more. “Often felt” – giggles every time.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would, especially as it is the first book in a new crime series and I do love starting a new series at the first book and not coming in it at book three or so… which sometimes happens – you don’t often see those reviews as I don’t like finishing books that I come into mid-series and I rarely post reviews for DNF (Did Not Finish) books.

But yes, lovers of cosy crimes and American Mysteries would love this book and I would indeed recommend it to anyone wanting to try something new.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I think I would. With some series I need to read the first few books before I can decide as to whether I would want copies in my physical or electronic library, but with ‘The Book Club Murders’ I would happily own a copy in my eBooks selection. And I look forward to finding the next one in ‘The Oakwood Mystery Series’!

In summary: A well written little murder mystery that had just the right amount of everything. A great read.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Be Still My Beading Heart: A Glass Bead Mini-Mysteryby Janice Peacock

be-still-my-beading-heart

3 out of 5 stars.

I bought this short story for myself with my own money so technically don’t have to thank anyone… but will thank the author for the tip off. 😉

What can I say, I know it was a short story, sold as a short story and I am obviously a selfishly greedy fan of the ‘Glass Bead Mystery’ series – but I found it too short! 😀

I got to the end and went: wait, what? No! That can’t be all of it!

Sadly it was, but it was worth it all the same.

A lovely little mini mystery to sate we fans until the next book comes out. It picks up nicely from the last full story ‘A Bead in the Hand’, adds some intrigue and filler on the main characters, the hunky guys and our artistic protagonist. All in all it was of the same quality and fun I have come to expect from Ms Peacock and has really made me want to read book three ‘Off the Beadin’ Path’ when it comes out in March. I wish I was on her blog tour so I could read it sooner. 😀

It’s a short story so gets a short review.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would, though I would strongly advise them to go and grab the first two books ‘High Strung’ and ‘A Bead in the Hand’ first. This mini mystery is not a stand-alone and is best enjoyed in the company of its bigger siblings. 😉

Would I buy this book for myself?

Already have done. Don’t regret it either. Loved it, read it in like half an hour and wanted more… what can I say? It was good.

In summary: A great little mini mystery and filler to tide the fans over until the next main story.

Until next tme,

Janis.

Book Review -Make in a Day: Paper Flowers by Amanda Evanston Freund.

make-in-a-day-paper-flowers

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Dover Publications for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

This is most definitely the perfect book to do with your kids on those days they are stuck inside and bored! Creative, colourful and oh so easy to follow!

And I do love how it shows the reader how to make some flowers from paper your children can colour in, or even dye with food colouring, rather than you needing to have a whole rainbow of crepe paper stashed away.

Though I will add, if you were to but this book I seriously would have a stash of the needed papers, glues, straws and tape put aside just for the days it is brought out to entertain. And I really do think it will indeed entertain! I have a 7, 9 and 12 year old – all of which loved the ideas and instructions. Yes, the younger the child, the more you would have to help out – but don’t helicopter, let them do it.

The layout and formatting was clear and easy to follow. Each flower had a bit of an introduction and all in all the only thing I felt it lacked was a bit of a glossary at the back about the different equipment needed, and an index. But maybe that is just me being a tad pedantic. It is a child’s craft book after all.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. ‘Make in a Day: Paper Flowers’ would be the perfect book to include in your craft library and one that you and your children  – of varying ages – could turn to again and again when they want to be creative and crafty and make gifts, decorations or just while away a rainy day indoors.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I probably would, but would honestly have to leave the final say to my children, as they would be the ones using it the most. And I am pretty sure they would say yes.

In summary – a fantastic, simple little crafty book on how to make paper flowers. Easy to follow, well laid out, fun for the kids.

Until next time,

Janis

Book Review – Emma and the Silk Thieves by Matthew. Cox.

emma-and-the-silk-thieves

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

I was so thrilled to get a chance to read ‘Emma and the Silk Thieves’. Why? It is the second book in the ‘Tales of Widowswood’ series and the first one had me hooked!

Although I am pretty sure this is meant to be a YA/ NA (Young Adult/ New Adult) genre book, I just loved it for the world it weaves from the story. I loved its people, language, culture and history – very similar to our own but different enough to be exciting. So, yes, a series a young mind can happily get lost in by relating to it while also being entertained by its differences.

The story in ‘Emma and the Silk Thieves’ picks up shortly after where the first book ‘Emma and the Banderwigh’ finishes and links to it smoothly while also allowing the adventure to continue and Emma’s world to grow around us. Totally loved this.

If you have kids with spider issues… possibly not the best book to let them read at bedtime, in the dark, with those scratching noises outside… 😉 But other than that I would happily let my nearly 10 and my 12 year olds read it. I loved it, found it really does continue with the series and not just a rehash or total new thing tacked on the a series title – I hate it when you get a “series” where it really is just books with the same character that tend to chop and change personality in each book. Does not happen in ‘Emma and the Silk Thieves’. Perfect.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would, no matter the reader’s age, as long as they enjoy a bit of YA/NA fantasy, this book is right for them. Just remember about the spiders, okay? I love spiders… spider lovers are good to read this. Those who freak at the smallest arachnid – read with the lights on and a good cleared two meter radius around you. 😉

Though I have to say here and now that I would strongly recommend that anyone wanting to read ‘Emma and the Silk Thieves’ read ‘Emma and the Banderwigh’ first as this is not a stand-alone book, but a true follow on of the series. And so the reader would really be missing out on some excellent writing if they skipped the first book in the series!

Would I buy this book for myself?

Absolutely. Loved the first book – except for that ending that Mr Cox then fixed up – and was really looking forward to the second in the series. Simply can’t wait for the next book in the ‘Tales of Widowswood’ series too.

In summary: An excellent follow-on in a very well written YA/NA fantasy series. We need new tales like this for our children. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Crystal Mindfulness by Judy Hall.

crystal-mindfulness

3 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Watkins Publishing for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Okay… I find it really hard writing this review – I’ve actually been putting it off for a couple of weeks. Why? Well, I want to say good things about ‘Crystal Mindfulness’ but I just didn’t fully connect to it as much as I had hoped.

I’m someone who believes in both Mindfulness and the focal point of energy from within you that can come from crystals – yes, I’m a hippy dippy weirdo, I thought we established that years ago! 😀

And I did find some of the mindfulness side of this book good… but I also felt I was only getting half the information sometimes. I really can’t place my finger on exactly what it was… but something just seemed to be lacking. And that sucks as the book is not to fault as it contains some very comprehensive and useful information. The sucky part is me and my failure to connect like I had hoped.

I also don’t agree with the fact that just looking at pictures of the crystals has the same effect as holding one. That just doesn’t sit well with me at all sorry.

Finally, the list of crystals wasn’t in alphabetical order or even, from memory, grouped into specifics – energy, heart, healing, etc. And, well, Ms Pedantic Me likes her reference material to be grouped and categorised in an organised manner before I am comfortable in using a book again and again. Yes there is an index, but I would much rather be able to thumb through to the right point that have to look things up each time.

Honestly, I really do feel all the issues I had with ‘Crystal Mindfulness’ come from me the reader and not the book itself. I feel it was just a failure to connect situation.

Would I recommend this book for others?

Probably not. I mean, this was the first crystal book I have read that also focusses on Mindfulness, but it just didn’t sit well with me as being a good book for people to reference. But this is solely down to my failure to connect and not the book. Don’t hate me, but I just can’t recommend something I couldn’t get into when it comes to crystals.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Pretty sure we all know the answer to that one. For me personally, there are better books on crystals (both metaphysical and scientific) and on Mindfulness out there. This book just wasn’t for me.

In summary: A lot of good and helpful information is covered in ‘Crystal Mindfulness’ but I just couldn’t connect… there was something about the layout that put me off. Reader error, not book error.

Until next time,

Janis.

Cover Reveal -Taste of the French Caribbean by Chef Denis.

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Being the cook book addict that I am, it gives me great pleasure to take part in this Blog tour for Chef Denis and his new cook book. What’s more, I get to share one of the recipes… which honestly looks perfect for the type of hot summer weather we’re having here in the Adelaide Hills right now – not quite the Caribbean, but it just goes to show you can bring the tastes of the French Caribbean to any part of the world! 😉

And so, here we go –

Cover Reveal

 

taste-of-the-french-caribbean-cover

Stir up an authentic taste of the Caribbean at home with Chef Denis Rosembert’s first ever cookbook. The St Lucia born restauranteur lovingly curates his favourite dishes — from delicious jerk chicken to spicy mutton curry and sweet golden apple cake — for you to recreate, bringing the unique flavours and exotic aromas of the island — renowned for its seafood and exquisite chocolates — vividly to life in your own kitchen.

At his much-loved restaurant Chez Denis in Norwich, England, Denis Rosembert blends the eclectic cuisines of Africa, Europe and Eastern India that combine to make St Lucian food so rich and so special. His colourful, infectious, easy-to-follow recipes are the ultimate celebration of island life, food and drink and entertaining and will soon have you inviting friends and family round to experience your own taste of the Caribbean.

About Chef Denis

 

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Chef Denis Rosembert

Denis Rosembert was born on the island of St.Lucia where he started training to be a

chef in 1973. After a couple of years he was invited to England to continue his training. Since then Denis has worked in various hotels and restaurants across Britain and America in the role of Commis, Sous and finally Head Chef. In 1989 he moved to Norwich, where after a brief stint working for the Sports Village, he finally realised his dream and opened his own restaurant Chez Denis.

Website – http://www.chezdenis.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Chezdenis1

Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup.

janis-journal-sweet-potato-coconut-soupIngredients

300g sweet potatoes

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 stick of celery

1 medium onion

small leek

cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

25ml coconut milk

35ml coconut cream salt and pepper

SERVES 4

  1. Put vegetable oil in a pan and add celery, onion, leek, bay leaf and garlic.
  2. Add diced and peeled sweet potatoes; simmer for 15 minutes on a low heat.
  3. Add chicken stock or vegetable stock. Cook until the potatoes are soft but not over cooked.
  4. Remove from the stove and blend the soup. Do not strain the soup. Return the blended soup to the heat, then add the coconut cream, and milk, bring to the boil. Remove from the heat after 2 minutes.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ready to serve.

 

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