Colored Pencil Painting Portraits by Alyona Nickelsen

I’ve known for a while that colored pencils could do remarkable things. However, this book takes things to the next level. There are some pieces that look so much like oil paintings, I’m flabbergasted. However, that’s the point of the book, to show how much colored pencils can be a great choice for professional work. Nickelsen provides scientific reason why it can be a good choice for permanent works, comparing it to the likes of encaustic.

This booked is packed with useful and interesting information. It started from helping you decide what sort of surface you should to various techniques you can use with colored pencils to create life like pieces. At times the processes she uses feel very much like painting. My only qualm is that she uses solvents in some of her techniques, and I’m not overly fond of them. However, I know that most people have no problems with solvents as a whole.

Overall, this book is wonderful, filled with beautiful images and useful techniques. It would be a great for a beginner or a more experienced artist.




I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

There’s a lot of rave reviews about this book, but my heart just couldn’t get into it. It started off a little awkward, with stilted dialogue, but it seemed to smooth out after a bit.

There’s some really cute things about this book. For example, it has recipes of some of the core foods described! This was honestly the most exciting part of the book for me. Although I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet and I can’t really say if they’re good or not.

I definitely understand where this book was trying to go, but it just didn’t quite get there for me. Maybe I’m just too jaded for this book. Maybe I’m just too used to more nuanced love stories.

There are two different points of views in this book. The first was Jane’s, and eventually I was able to grow to like her. However, the book was also included Callum’s point of view and oh my gosh were those first few chapters of his difficult for me to get through. There was just a huge point that I just COULD NOT get over. I’ll explain under the cut as I feel like some might see it as a spoiler. (You’ve been warned.)

Continue reading “Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge”

Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown could do with some trimming

Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown is a book with a lot of potential that was just too long for its own good. There’s a lot of good information in this book. There are useful tips and tools that new businesses could definitely use. However, you’d have to slug yourself through a lot of repetition.

The introduction is 26 pages long of the authors trying to sell and explain growth hacking. I kept thinking that I would get more and didn’t realize until page 25 that the reason I wasn’t getting anything really concrete was because the book hadn’t really started.  It’s like the case of the student that had a twenty page report, but only ten pages of information. There is so much repetition of the same material, especially in the beginning. I think this book could have done with a more severe editor.

Overall I give the book a 3 out of 5. I felt like they were trying to sell me something, even though I’d already gotten the book. If you can find the cliff notes for this out there, I’d go with that instead.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

The intrigue of Juniper Lane by Kady Morrison

Never in my life have I read a book where the characters felt more real. Juniper Lane by Kady Morrison is a breakout, first novel. Morrison is a writer who’s been very interesting in exploring character’s emotional motives, and it is fabulous to see what she can do when she is given free reign to create her own world.

This book has it all. There are lost souls, gossips, family secrets, romances, vicious and cats, fancy food, hippies, and suburbanites, but mostly there are people who are trying to figure it out and make it in this world. These characters are some of the best. They are awkward, raw, feeling creatures. You can see how their pasts affect where they are now and how they overcome all the pain they’ve had to endure. There is real character growth happening in the book, and it feels like watching a baby learn to walk (read the book and you’ll understand what I mean).

I loved this book, and I can’t say I’ve ever quite read anything like it. It had me laughing at times and at times hiding my face in my hands (in glee). Overall, I was sad every time I had to put it down, and I wish with all my heart there was a sequel.



You can find the book at barnes and noble or on amazon.

A thrilling ride with Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

I have seen quite a few people saying that Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves is not a good book, but I honestly had a hard time putting it down. Did I skim a few paragraphs here and there? Maybe, but you know what I’ve done that with more famous books (like Harry Potter… I mean who said that not me).

Overall, there’s a lot of great twists, and the mystery stays right up until the very end. I loved the characters, especially Gábor. The great thing you can see how they change and grow. If you’re a history buff, you might find this magic infused version of 1847 intriguing. My only really qualm with the book is that it occasionally had some unnecessary kissing, and the violence became a bit graphic in the last few chapters. Other than that it is a very charming coming of age story about a very unique girl.

When I finished, I started looking to see if there was a sequel I could get my hands on in the future. That’s a definite win for me. I would recommend it to other fantasy lovers for sure.




Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


Invitation was not very inviting- A review

Invitation is a horror thriller written by Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky. It’s the first of a possible series, but the authors don’t seem to be too sure. Overall, I’m not too please with this book. Although, I’ll have to admit that I’m not really one for books where separate authors are writing a book together, unless they can make it seamless. This is not one of those books. You can clearly tell that it’s different authors for each story. For me, this was irritating. The stories themselves are acceptable. Although not my favorite. Overall, I wouldn’t go looking for the next in this series even if there was one.


I received this book from Bethany House for this review.


Connecting with Portraits in Portrait Revolution by Julia L. Kay

After painting self portraits for years, Julia L. Kay decided that she wanted to use portrait to connect with other artists. The book, Portrait Revolution, is a collection of this virtual portrait party along with some portraiture basics.

The book is a exploration of modern portraiture and some of the many forms that these may take. I wouldn’t call all the pieces in this book masterpieces, but they are interesting. They helped give me an understanding of how other artists interact with the form and what happens artists from multiple disciplines meet.

The book is divided up into portraits by medium, style, and theme, as well as some more featured artists and subjects. Throughout the book, there are some tips and comments about portraiture. However, these are geared towards a beginner than a more experienced artist. There is also a how to section on portraits. Once again, this is mostly for beginners. If you’re just getting into portraiture, this book will provide you with a wide range of ideas. However, if you’re more advanced, you might get something out of the images of other artist’s work and inspiration from some of the quotes, but most of the content will be old news.



I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love- A Review

Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love is an intriguing book. I’ve been waiting for what feel like months to get this book. After reading it, I felt that I’d judged the book by the cover (and summary) correctly.

It’s hard to find a book with this kind of plot. Lola is so strong but beyond that she is brilliant. She uses men’s underestimation of women to outsmart them. This in itself gives me a thrill. I’m so glad I was able to finally get my hands on this book.

I Hated Mexico by Josh Barkan

Mexico by Josh Barkan is one of the worst books I’ve laid my hands on in a while.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when the author bio said that Barkan had taught writing at places like Harvard, NYU, or Boston University. This man can barely write. His prose sounds like someone who’s still really trying to find his footing. It feels like he’s trying to copy the writing format of better writers in the hopes that the tricks will work for him too. Instead they fall flat.

Don’t get me started on how fake his characters or their speech seems. Everything feels so one dimensional. He’s trying to explore personalities and lives that aren’t his own. But it really feels like a middle schooler trying to imagine what someone’s else’s life might be like. It’s all laid out with much more telling than showing. This is one author that should really stick to the advice of writing what he knows.

Often, his statements contradict each other, and it’s just so irritating. There is so much that could have been done with these stories. But these stories all just feel a bit like wasted potential. There’s this strange voyeuristic undercurrent to all the stories that really confuses me because it’s all from a first person point of view.

Overall, I’d definitely avoid this book. If you want to read about Mexico or crime stories, look elsewhere.



I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

32 Yolks Audiobook- A review

32 Yolks by Eric Ripert read by Peter Ganim is filled with descriptions of delectable foods. I guess that’s to be expected for a book that follows the life of a chef. Sadly, I’m not worldly enough to know what many of the things described might taste like. Yet it was still pleasant to listen to the audiobook.

The book starts off a bit rough, in topic, and I found myself skipping many pieces I didn’t really want to hear. It goes through all the hardships that Eric faced as a child. Some of them are rough, and some of them are embarrassing. He seems to bare it all in this book.

The audiobook is relatively short- only about 6 CD’s. I found it simple to listen to during my commute, but it wasn’t so interesting to me that I looked forward to my drives because of it. However, if you’re a food buff this is a great audiobook to try.




I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.