Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sketch!: The Non-Artist's Guide to Inspiration, Technique, and Drawing Daily Life by France Belleville-Van Stone

Book Description:  An inspirational manual for integrating sketching into daily life for artists and non-artists alike. 

     Urban sketching--the process of sketching on the go as a regular practice--is a hot trend in the drawing world. In this aspirational guide, French artist France Belleville-Van Stone offers motivation to move beyond the comfort zone, as well as instruction on turning rough sketches into finished work. By sharing her own creative process, which includes sketching by hand and digitally, Belleville-Van Stone emboldens readers to craft a method of their own and devote more time to art, even if it's just 10 minutes a day. Sketch will inspire artists both established and aspiring to rethink their daily practice, sketch for the pure joy of it, and document their lives and the world around them.

My Thoughts:  I've always been interested in sketching or drawing; however, I can't seem to "get it."  I'm a crafty person and can decorate and place colors together but this sketching/drawing "thing" just never came to me.  

Well, this year  I am determined to learn but don't have the time to go to a class so when I saw this book Sketch!: The Non-Artist's Guide to Inspiration, Technique, and Drawing Daily Life by France Belleville-Van Stone I knew this was my chance!

Also, the title caught my attention:  The Non-Artist's Guide to Inspiration, Technique, and Drawing Daily Life...well, that's me...a non-artist.
This book does delve into the art/drawing instruction (and there are some great pointers/instructions).  The book is more about (don't laugh) making mistakes.  Yes, getting out paper and pencil/pen and sketching!  Make mistakes!  Go back and redo!  Love it!!  Make mistakes and then do better!  Learn, learn, learn!
I love this quote from the book, “If talent exists, my definition of it is this: it is the capacity to spend innumerable hours doing something and believe that somehow it matters. And perhaps if somehow God had a hand in it, it was in planting that tenacity in us.”
And yes, I've made some progress...I think I'll keep referencing this book and keep Sketching!

*This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multonmah*

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (November 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385346093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385346092
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.5 x 9 inches

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

  • All Recipes has a wonderful, quite tasty Hobo Stew that's great for these January days!


    • 1 tablespoon of oil
    • 1 cup of chopped onion
    • 1/2 cup of chopped mixed sweet and hot peppers
    • 1/2 cup of celery
    • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
    • 1-1/2 pounds of ground beef
    • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
    • 1-1/2 cups of beef stock or broth
    • 3 (11.5 ounce) cans of original or spicy V-8, or tomato juice
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
    • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
    • 2 cups of fresh diced carrots (about 2 large)
    • 2 cups of corn
    • 2 cups of cut green beans
    • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
    • Couple dashes of hot sauce
    • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning, optional
    • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
    • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste

  • Instructions:

    In the bottom of a Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, peppers and celery; cook and stir until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ground beef, cook and stir until meat is browned and cooked through. Drain off excess fat. Sprinkle meat with flour; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add the beef stock, V-8 juice and diced tomatoes. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, corn and green beans. Add Worcestershire, hot sauce and seasonings to taste. Stir, cover and simmer over medium to medium low (low bubble) for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until veggies are tender, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

    Hobo stew can be served as is, or spooned over rice or mashed potatoes. Serve with hot cornbread, biscuits or rolls.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Cry from the Dust (A Gwen Marcey Novel, book 1) by Carrie Stuart Parks

Book Description:  In the shadow of the Mormon church, a 19th-century conspiracy is about to be shattered by a 21st-century forensic artist. 

In 1857, a wagon train in Utah was assaulted by a group of militant Mormons calling themselves the Avenging Angels. One hundred and forty people were murdered, including unarmed men, women, and children. The Mountain Meadows Massacre remains controversial to this day--but the truth may be written on the skulls of the victims. 

When renowned forensic artist Gwen Marcey is recruited to reconstruct the faces of recently unearthed victims at Mountain Meadows, she isn't expecting more than an interesting gig . . . and a break from her own hectic life. 

But when Gwen stumbles on the ritualized murder of a young college student, her work on the massacre takes on a terrifying new aspect, and research quickly becomes a race against modern-day fundamentalist terror. 
As evidence of a cover-up mounts--a cover-up spanning the entire history of the Mormon church--Gwen finds herself in the crosshairs of a secret society bent on fulfilling prophecy and revenging old wrongs. 
Can a forensic artist reconstruct two centuries of suppressed history . . . before it repeats itself? 
In A Cry from the Dust, Carrie Stuart Parks utilizes her own background as a celebrated, FBI-trained forensic artist to blend fact and fiction into a stunning mystery.

My Thoughts:  Oh!Wow!  This is an incredible read!!  
I was offered this book twice and declined to read it twice.  I'll be honest the cover of the book looks odd to me and then I took time to read the description and it clicked!  That's a picture of a death mask.  
Gwen Marcey has had one too many disappointments come her way and then her co-worker is murdered, her work almost obliterated...her sanity seems like a millisecond from insanity!  Poor Gwen.
Gwen is a forensic artist (what a cool job!).  She is recruited to unearth massacre victims at Mountain Meadows.  This is where it gets interesting!  
The massacre concerned the Mormon church.  Wow!  So much history/facts about the Mormons.  
The suspense in this read is off the charts!  
This is one incredible WOW read!  And I'm so glad I decided to read this debut book by Carrie!  History and fiction at its best!

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Series: A Gwen Marcey Novel (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (August 12, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401690432
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401690434

Monday, January 26, 2015

COTT {Clash of the Titles) The Most Exciting December 2014 Releases

January 2015 Clash of the Titles

It's a New Year featuring some of the most romantic and intriguing releases from last month. Holiday, Western, Pirates!

She’s Mine: A Mystique of Naultag novel 
Tammy Doherty

Caitlin Harrington has a new job and a new life away from her menacing ex-boyfriend, Adam. Issues with her parents, losing her previous job and the death of her beloved grandmother leave her wondering if God has abandoned her. Two things she is sure of: she’s a lousy judge of character and men just can’t be trusted.

Plundered Christmas 
Susan Lyttek

When compelled to spend Christmas on the private island of her father’s intended bride, Jeanine must cope with pirate legends, unexpected storms, and murder. Will she and her family discover the truth about Anne Bonny’s connection to the Banet family before someone else winds up dead?

Christmas Greetings
Pat Simmons

Saige Carter loves everything about Christmas: the shopping, the food, the lights, and of course, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without family and friends to share in the traditions they’ve created together Daniel Washington is no Scrooge, but he’d rather skip the holidays altogether than spend them with his estranged family. Once God reveals to them His purpose for their lives, they will have a reason to rejoice. 

Deep Freeze Christmas
Marian Merritt

Louisiana Chef Leona Buquet agrees to cook at a Colorado mountain lodge during the Christmas holiday. When she meets the son of a movie producer, she is taken by his striking good looks and warm personality. Trouble is, with glamorous actresses clamoring for his attention, why would he even notice Leona?

The Snowbound Bride
Davalynn Spencer

Can Arabella Taube find her way out of the physical and emotional storm of a Colorado winter before the handsome horseman who rescued her also steals her heart? 

(Note: books made available the weekend of December 1 are included)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The 20/20 Diet: Turn Your Weight Loss Vision Into Reality by Phil McGraw (Author)

Book Description:  In The 20/20 Diet, Dr. Phil McGraw identifies seven reasons other diets fail people over and over again: hunger, cravings, feeling of restriction, impracticality and expense, boredom, temptations, and disappointing results or plateaus. Then, he addresses each of these roadblocks by applying the latest research and theories that have emerged since his last best seller on the same topic, The Ultimate Weight Solution. Dr. Phil and his team have created a plan that you can start following right now and continue working for the rest of your life. In this diet, readers will start by eating only 20 key ingredients, called the “20/20 Foods,” which theories indicate may help enhance your body’s thermogenesis and help you feel full. But that's just the beginning. This book explains why you haven't been able to lose the weight before, and empowers you with cognitive, behavioral, environmental, social and nutritional tools so you can finally reach your goal, and learn lifelong healthy habits to maintain those results.

My Thoughts:  One day after school I "just happened" to turn the TV on and Dr. Phil was talking about this book (new this year) on the Doctor's Show.
I listened to Dr. Phil because I know that in the past he had a huge weight problem (pun intended).  He has struggled with his weight so I was interested in reading his book. 
I like the approach.  It's nothing new, really.  But, yet, Dr. Phil simplifies the "hard" part.
There are three phases: 
These 3 phases are two 5 day and then followed up by a 20 day.
**Phase 1 (days 1-5): "Boost" - You eat every 4 hours, increasing metabolism, with basic foods.
**Phase 2 (days 6-10): "Sustain" - Somewhat the same as 1 but now adding in more diversity of foods.
**Phase 3 (days 11-30): "Attain" - Somewhat the same as 2 but by now all foods have been added in.

It's a doable "diet".... it needs to become a way of life.  Eating to maintain energy, never going hungry.  Hungry becomes the problem that leads to overeating and weight gain.  There are a lot of fish and veggie recipes, fruit added too. Eating a lot of vegetables is the key to weight loss.
A well thought out plan.
I'm trying it and doing well.  Down 7 pounds....

*This book was provided for review by NetGalley*
  • Hardcover: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Bird Street Books (January 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939457319
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939457318

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sister Eve, Private Eye (A Divine Private Detective Agency Mystery) by Lynne Hinton

Book Description:  Sister Eve knows God moves in mysterious ways. And Eve adores a good mystery. Especially a murder.
Two decades into her calling at a New Mexico monastery, Sister Evangeline Divine breaks her daily routine when a police officer appears, carrying a message from her father. Sister Eve is no stranger to the law, having grown up with a police captain turned private detective. She’s seen her fair share of crime—and knows a thing or two about solving mysteries.
But when Captain Jackson Divine needs her to return home and help him recover from surgery, Sister Eve finds herself taking on his latest case.
A Hollywood director has disappeared, and the sultry starlet he’s been running around with isn’t talking. When the missing man turns up dead, Captain Divine’s case escalates into a full-blown murder case, and Sister Eve’s crime-solving instincts kick in with an almost God-given grace.
Soon Sister Eve finds herself soul-searching every step of the way: How can she choose between the vocation in her heart and the job in her blood?

My Thoughts: I know a lot of people didn't care for this read but I found it interesting and quite good.  
Sister Eve (Evangeline Devine is her real name. . . oh!my!) is quite humorous to me.  She doesn't fit the nun mold nor does she try too.  She is who she is.
When a police officer shows up at the monastery with a message from Sister Eve's father...Captain Jack Divine (just love the play on names!)
Sister Eve goes home to help her dad as he recovers from surgery and she helps with his current case.  Sister Eve knows a thing or two about solving a crime/mystery!  After all, she grew up with a dad who is police captain.
The Hollywood director, Chaz Cheston, turns up dead and the starlet/mistress who has been running around with him isn't talking but Sister Eve is on the case!  Look out criminals!
As she goes about solving this case Sister Eve rethinks her own choice of life decisions.  Interesting!  
I'm hoping that there is more about Sister Eve and her life in the future.  I love a mystery solving nun (but I loved Father Dowling, too!).

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

Series: A Divine Private Detective Agency Mystery (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401691455
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401691455

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Another great soup recipe from Pinterest!
12 ounces apple smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, small dice
2 carrots, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• Pinch or two sea salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
6 (15 ounce) cans small white beans (or navy beans), drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken stock, hot
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preparation:  Place a large Dutch oven, or heavy bottom pot, over medium-high heat; once the pot is hot, add in a small drizzle of olive oil, and the chopped bacon; crisp the bacon completely until nice and brown, then remove with a slotted spoon, drain it on some paper towel, and set it aside for a moment; reserve about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat, and set that aside for a moment, as well; wipe out the pot, and return it to medium-high heat.
Next, add back into the pot the bacon fat, along with the olive oil and the butter, and allow them to melt together; once melted and hot, add in the diced onion, carrots and celery, and allow them to soften and saute for about 5 minutes; next, add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in about 2/3 of the reserved, crisped bacon, as well as the Italian seasoning, the sea salt and the pepper, along with the white beans, and stir to combine; next, add in the hot chicken stock, stir, and allow the stew to gently simmer for about 40-45 minutes, partially covered with lid; about half way through the cooking process, mash the beans a little bit with the  back of your spoon, or with a potato masher, to break up the beans a little bit and release their natural starch to thicken the stew; after about 40 minutes, turn the heat off and finish the stew by adding in the chopped parsley, the lemon zest and the lemon juice; serve the stew with some nice, crusty bread to dip, and garnish with some of the remaining crisped bacon.
(Serves about 6)