Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Part-time Vegan by Cherise Grifoni

With an interest in healthy eating, I decided to check out Cherise Grifoni’s new book, The Part-Time Vegan.  The book starts with the “Totally Not Boring Intro” that made me smile.  There is an introduction to vegan ingredients explained, but I wish there had been a little more information and an explanation of what makes each a healthy, tasty ingredient.  Names like TVP, Cacao nibs, and Vegan margarine need a little more of a sell.  There are short text-blocks in some recipes called “The Skinny On” that have information on some of the ingredients.

Some of the recipes that sounded good to me were:  Baked Zucchini Fries, Top of the Morning Cashew Butter Wrap, Gingered and Pralined Sweet Potatoes, and Millet and Butternut Squash Casserole.  For my taste, too many of the recipes rely heavily on the flavor of garlic.

Along with all of the recipes, there is a nice section with 11 dinner plans.  As a downside, there are no photos or nutritional/calorie information.   

The vegan lifestyle is usually all or nothing.  Many of the ingredients are expensive, and it can be complicated. As recommended by the book, I don’t think I am interested looking for Lactylate every time I purchase bread products (makes a vegan dish non-vegan).  I think this is a good starting point for someone who wants to give the vegan lifestyle a try.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Next Move, You’re Dead by Linda L. Barton

Link to purchase Next Move You're Dead (Kindle)
Link to Purchase Next Move You're Dead (Nook)
Homicide Detective John Cooper finds himself in what seems to be a cat and mouse game with a serial killer and his life is spiraling out of control. 

The author, Linda L. Barton does a very good job of bringing to the page the creepiness and violence of the murders without being too graphic.  There are quite a few characters involved in the story and she introduced each thoroughly, explaining how each arrived into the story. 

My main problem with the book is that I didn’t find the main characters of John and his wife Kathy likeable or believable. This is a mystery thriller, but I was able to figure out where the story was heading very quickly. 

My favorite books are about the mature detective that is able to put together the pieces of the puzzle and solve the case.  Although John was touted as one of the best detectives, he did not display any common sense in the book.  Even knowing the entire story and looking back, he was a terrible law enforcement officer. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Baby wraps by Karla Alexander

Baby Wraps by Karla Alexander is a perfect book for beginning quilters.  With the exception of a few of the appliqué designs, all of the patterns would be suitable for a new quilter or for a more advanced quilter looking for a cute and easy pattern for children.

There is a Quiltmaking Basics section that covers everything from tools and supplies, strip cutting, and fusible appliqué, to the assembling and finishing with the quilting and binding.  There are also hints on choosing the perfect fabric for each design.

I found two of the eight patterns that I would like to make, Fly Away with dragonflies and Baby’s Patchwork.  Both are easy patterns with appliqué on one and simple patchwork on the other.  Several of the patchwork designs look more complicated, but the design is simply due to block placement. 

While the quilts are simple, some of the appliqué pieces are small and may prove to be a little more difficult.  Learning to quilt is not difficult, and I would recommend this book as a good start in that learning process.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Corona by Paige Owen

Corona by Paige Owen 
Corona by Paige Owen is an ebook available on both and free of charge.  I don't usually read much Science fiction, but the time travel topic caught my attention. As soon as I started reading I was  drawn into the story. 

A child finds a strange case on the beach that contains a ship's log.  The strange story of that ship's adventure comes alive with many twists to the story.   There were a couple of confusing parts and an awkward transition in the story, but all in all I enjoyed it very much. 

Corona is written by a new author that I think will do well.  Grab this one while it is still free!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sew Decorative Quick and Easy Home Accents from SewNews

Express yourself with this book of patterns for quick and easy decorative touches for your home.  For the dining room, there is a pretty, but very simple hand embroidered table runner.  There are several patterns for patchwork placemats, pot holders, and table runners. For the bedroom there are instructions for adding trims to pillowcases and sheets. You can make tab-top curtains with a matching bed skirt.  There is a cute bathroom organizer that hangs with your shower curtain and is made with 2 hand towels.

There are patterns for embellished lampshades and a lounge sack, but then my favorite section comes along:  Pillows - square, round, cubed - pillows of all sorts and styles. 

There are 24 projects in all, and many of them are perfect for beginner crafters.  There are a few for the more advanced, but most of them are simple designs that with the right fabric choices will add a touch of your own style to each room. There are detailed instructions with each pattern and four pages of home sewing and embroidery techniques.  

I received a copy of this book for review, but I always give my honest opinion of the book.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dolce Handknits by Kim Dolce

Dolce Handknits contains 4 seasons of classic and youthful knit designs, with each season  containing 4 designs.  Winter begins the book with heavier weight knits, with yarn from smooth worsted, heavy worsted to super-bulky yarn. The designs are traditional sweater designs, but two have off-shoulder patterns. 

Spring designs use sport weight yarn with one using worsted weight. Designs include two cardigans, one with a ruffled front, a v-neck pullover, and a short-sleeved tee.

Summer calls for fingering weight yarn to worsted yarn and has one raglan style sleeveless top with Icord ties and a short cropped shrug.  Also, a vine stripe cardigan and, my favorite, a  lacy tank.

Fall designs include another favorite, Bloomsbury, a tie-front sweater with ¾ sleeves.  Another cardigan, a pullover and a heavier jacket close out the year of knits.

Basic techniques are included along with helpful information about yarn weights.  There may be one or two designs included in this book that would be appropriate for beginners, but overall I would think an advanced beginner to intermediate knitter would benefit most from Dolce Handknits.  I appreciated the fact that stitch design instructions were included along with charts.   

Dolce Handknits has lovely, elegant garments with something for young ladies and those not so young!

Thank you to Martingale & Company for this review copy.
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