Thursday, April 17, 2014

Scrapbooking Book Reviews!

Getting Started With Scrapbooking: How to Create Your First ScrapbookGetting Started With Scrapbooking: How to Create Your First Scrapbook by Phyllis Matthews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have tried to scrapbook once, and failed.  Well not so much failed as I wasn't properly equipped or prepared for the project. Had I had a copy of this book, I would have probably made a better first scrapbook! Phyllis Matthews has put together a simple yet informative book on the basics of scrapbooking.  Instead of feeling like a strict instructor is giving you step by step instructions, Phyllis's tone is more of a friend teaching you her favorite hobby.

I pulled two important lessons from this book; one I knew and one I wish I had known before.  First, Phyllis reminds the reader that scrapbooks don't have to be filled with just pictures.  Tickets, maps, information pamphlets and the like are perfect fillers for a scrapbook. I knew this going into my attempt and used post cards and other materials from my trip.

The second lesson is the plan your scrapbook before you start the actual work.  Phyllis includes a sample plan that she used for one of her own scrapbooks.  I wish I had known or even thought to have done something like this, it's a perfect planning idea. As an author I would never start a story without even the simplest of outlines, why would I go into a craft project without a plan. (I do plan my craft projects now, but when I did my scrapbook attempt I wasn't yet as crafty as I am now!)

Budget Scrapbooking For BeginnersBudget Scrapbooking For Beginners by Phyllis Matthews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm always looking for a deal and Phyllis follows up her Getting Started book with a wonderful book on how to save money.  If you have taken a walk down aisles dedicated to scrapbook in any craft store you may have seen those high prices. Well really any aisle at a craft store.  Yes there are sales and coupons, but sometimes even those don't really cut the cost significantly. Phyllis gives a number of really good ideas on where to buy supplies and how to use things you may never have thought to use in a scrapbook (or any craft).

One place she suggests (and one of my favorite craft shopping locations) is a dollar store.  While the quality of supplies isn't up to par with that found in craft stores, that isn't always an issue when dealing with crafts.  A sticker is a sticker no matter the cost and ribbon and bows are basically all the same.

I think both books go great together!

I received copies of the e-books for my honest reviews.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Club Catch Up!

Since I fell behind in my posts for March I missed posts for my various book clubs. Here's what I read and a brief review of the books.

First up here are February and March's books for Forever YA:

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book. I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of Rainbow Rowell's work.

The Impossible Knife of MemoryThe Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy Laurie Halse Anderson's books, I think she writes some of the best YA fiction.  I enjoyed this book, but struggled a bit some of the plot.

For our last Winter Book Club* meeting in March we read:

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I could not get into this book.  I thought the plot was a great idea, but I just felt like everything dragged.

For Tea & A Book** we read:
Suite FrancaiseSuite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is in two parts with the author originally planning for the book to contain 5 parts.  I liked the first part but it took me some time to get into the style and flow of the way she wrote this section.  I loved the second part and was heart broken to reach the end and know that there was no more.  The book includes her notes and you can see where she was intending to direct the story in part 3 and I would have loved to have read it.  They are making a movie based on part 2 of this book and I can't wait to see it!

*This book club is part of the meetups of the Meetup Group - Mercer County Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and will be extended through the rest of the year.  The tags will now be MCGBC (Mercer Count Girls Book Club).

**This is the book club I run at the library and we get low turn out (1 patron).  We are going to try to switch up our meeting dates and times next month but it doesn't look like I"ll be running this book club much longer and I'm kinda upset about that.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Review: Sous Chef by Michael Gibney

Sous ChefSous Chef by Michael Gibney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I consider myself a mini-foodie.  I love to try new things, but I put a limit to what new things I would consider. I love watching cooking shows and I try to experiment in the kitchen.  I've read a number of memoirs by celebrity chefs and I'm fascinated with their journeys but they never talk much about what goes on inside a kitchen on a normal day.  That aspect alone really excited me about this book.

Michael Gibney takes the reader through a typical day in the life of a sous chef. It's a crazy, hectic experience, one I never see myself surviving. He does in it by writing this book in second person singular, or using 'you' to describe the action; you do this, you know that, Chef says to you. I both enjoyed this style and was annoyed at parts.

I watch a lot of the cooking competition shows and most if not all of the contestants smoke.  I never understood why, to my knowledge smoking destroys your palate.  This can be observed on the ever present taste test challenge, a smoker almost always incorrectly guesses a 'simple' flavor.  Gibney addressed my complaint in a few scenes where Chef yells at you for smoking.

This book was not purchased for my branch but is in the system. I can't wait to start recommending it to patrons.

I received an advanced eBook copy through Netgalley for an honest review.