Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Realism Challenge by Mark Crilley

The Realism Challenge by Mark Crilley is a newly published instructional book to show how to create hyperrealistic art.  A newly emerging popular genre of art is hypperrealism- a modern reactionary movement to the cartoonish garbage called art that has become so prevalent.  Many readers may only be familiar with this movement through facebook feature articles which showcase hyperrealistic art through painfully slow slideshows from Huffington Post and other entertainment news forums. Crilly presents step by step illustrations to show how this realistic method of art can be attempted. Strategies utilize color as well as black and white which will make this book appealing to a broad range of artists who use a wide range of mediums.  The ink doodler, pencil artist and water color artist will find themselves just at home with this book as the acrylic and oil painter.  The minimalist design of this full color jacketed soft cover book would make a unique gift for anyone who enjoys drawing or doodling.  Even those readers who are not artists themselves may find this book intriguing. As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Watson-Guptill Publications of crown publishing.

Faithgirls Bible NIV

Faithgirls Bible in the NIV translation comes with a color coordinated purple owl themed magnetic closure cover.  This full sized girls' study bible is perfect for pre-teens and teen-aged girls.  The NIV translation is a reliable and trustworthy translation in contrast to other paraphrased translations frequently used for children's bible.  The NIV is not difficult to comprehend for children unlike when the Kings James Translation or NKJV is used for a children's bible.  I imagine that kids' bibles using difficult to read translations could not possibly be used as a primary bible by children and are used mostly just for gift giving and most likely will not actually be read by a child.  Therefore the NIV makes the perfect choice of a translation for a kids' bible. Purple font is used for the text and two tone graphics are used in the interior.  The purple and pink theme will certainly appeal to many young readers. Applicable devotions and commentaries are scattered throughout to help apply bible principals and teachings.  This is a bible that will be read- not simply to collect dust on a bookshelf.  As a blogger I received a copy of this bible published by Zonderkidz for the purpose of writing this review.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Earth's Catastrophic Past by Andrew A. Snelling

Earth's Catastrophic Past: Geology, Creation & the Flood is a two volume set by Andrew A. Snelling.
This extensive resource is a scholarly work that delves into extensive scientific evidence about the origins of the Earth.  In light of bible evidence, the author presents facts and evidence that will stand even to the greatest scientific scrutiny.  This is the perfect reference book for any student who wishes to investigate evolution with an objective eye.  This is not simply an introductory survey of biblical creation but an advanced body of research.  This is not a coffee table book depicting creation in pictures and photos- but rather a highly detailed academic work that challenges any reader.  This is not a casual book to read in one sitting while in a favorite armchair.  Prepare to dedicate time and mental effort into following the evidences provided by Snelling in these two volumes.  So far in all my research I have not read a more extensive and thorough book on Earth's history in light of scripture.  This is a valuable resource for any student- and an essential component in any science library.  It arms the student with a strong basis in bridging the bible with science. As a graduate with my BS, I was impressed by this set.  As far as grade level, it could be used by high school students up to college level in a geology or physical science course. This book is also perfect for the advanced biblical creation enthusiast who wants to know more than just the basics. This book goes into extensive detail not only with theology but with geology, archaeology and physical science. While this book is formatted as a reference volume with no graphics or photographs within the text, there is a section in the back of each volume with helpful supplemental graphs, charts and figures.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing Group for the purpose of writing this review.

Available at Master Books

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Just As Special by 3Evoke, LLC

Just As Special by 3Evoke, LLC illustrated by Colette Robbins is a picture book for young children that addresses the issue of being raised by single parents.  In this story, Mason feels left out because he doesn't have a dad around.  While the story does not focus on the particular circumstances of  why Mason does not have contact with his father- the lesson that there are other loving family members and trusted adults that care for Mason can apply to any child who feels alone.

Nevertheless as a parent, I am left to wonder why Mason apparently does not know anything about his dad when he asks his mom why he does not have a dad to play with.  Cryptically, the mom responds early in in the story,  "You do have a dad and he loves you.  Sometimes for many different reasons, dads aren't around, instead they send great people in their place to watch over you."  This answer seems to imply that either his dad has passed away, or perhaps is unavailable in some way such as in the military, incarnation  or committed in a mental institution- to explain the fact that his son knows nothing about him. If Mason was from a divorced home, he would at least have visitation with his father.  As a reader, I am wondering what happened to the dad and why he is not in the picture, even though his mom states his dad loves him. I just can't get past that aspect of the story.  As a reader, I was hoping the authors would add an explanation such as a divorce or death or military service to explain the dad's absence.    Mason's mother answers with a gentle, yet vague response- which can apply to many different situations that young children may experience when they are separated from their fathers through divorce, death, military or even incarceration.   Expressive illustrations bring this story to life.  The narrative in the present tense is unique and adds realism as if this story is directed at the reader.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Dog Ear Publishing for the purpose of writing this review.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Hostess Twinkies Cookbook by 10 Speed Press

The Hostess Twinkies Cookbook by 10 Speed Press is an eccentric new pocket sized cookbook that brings a 
plot twist to the beloved snack cake. Meshing together a lively narrative and eccentric dessert recipes using twinkies, this book is a hybrid between a specialty niche cook book and a coffee table book.  Filled with high quality,  full color photographs, colorful retro graphics, this book contains simple desserts using twinkies- including twinkies shakes, twinkies bacon and even a twinkies burger in which the twinkies replaces the bun.  These recipes are only for the adventurous as some of the combinations of meat and sugary cake are not traditional complimentary food combinations.  This niche book would make a great gift for anyone who is fond of Twinkies, or as a souvenir to reminisce of one's childhood days.  As a blogger I received a copy of this cook book published by  10 speed press.

Big Gay Ice Cream by Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint

Big Gay Ice Cream by Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint is an eccentric new gift book that brings a
plot twist to the beloved frozen summertime treat. Meshing together an alternative lifestyle, eccentric narrative and unique ice cream dessert recipes, this book is a hybrid between a cook book and a coffee table book.  Filled with high quality,  full color photographs, colorful retro graphics and a variety of real life people from all walks of life- not phony models, this book will appeal to a broad readership.  No one is excluded in this book as it depicts people of all shapes, sizes, ages, ethnicity and lifestyle choices- this book bridges the gap in the traditional black and white gender roles, redefining gender as a broad spectrum with no clear distinction.  This unique book integrates the theme of a high school yearbook to classify the ice cream recipes as easy- as in the Freshman section with Ice Cream 101 up to the advances senior level options.  For anyone who likes alternative culture and eccentric gifts, this is a good choice.  For those who are easily offended or have a traditional or old fashioned  mindset- the meaning of this book will not be appreciated and will be met with confusion or with bias.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by 10 Speed Press.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Awkwafina's NYC

The newly published travel guide, Awkwafina's NYC, is unlike any other book on travel.  While it is categorized as a travel book, don't expect to find any scenic photographs of the typical historical tourist areas of NYC.  You won't find picturesque scenes of the Empire state building or other well known structures or other of coverage art and culture. Yet with its eccentric and eclectic cover and its unique title, one would not expect this to be a traditional travel guide but rather a comical satire of NYC and its underground and alternative culture.  This full color glossy paged book would make a great gift or souvenir for anyone going to visit NYC or for anyone looking for a unique gift. This picture book is narrated by a eclectically dressed young woman of Asian descent, native to NYC known only as "Awkwafina".  The first thing one notices on the cover are the over-sized bold glasses, knit cap, tee-shirt and exaggerated facial expression of "Awkwafina" as she poses in stereotypical tourist fashion against the backdrop of a chain link fence and the NYC skyline as the back drop. I assumed at first that the girl on the cover was in fact Awkwafina.  This was confirmed when I read some background info on the inner back jacket.  Bold magazine styled graphics and photos draw in the reader.  This alternative guide offers extensive and humorous coverage of odd themes such as "10 places to pee" in NYC and a guide to "underground etiquette".  I guess one can say there is some practicality contained. It also exposes the culture of NYC that is often neglected in tourist guides.  It is a unique perspective and it has its place among budget travel books.   There are even pull open maps as well.  There are even those write your own fill in the blank "ad lib" styled games as well- reminiscent of the popular Ad Lib books of the 1980s.  The design of the book gives a retro impression and some of the photography is reminiscent of the Instagram photo effects. I'd also say this book makes an entertaining coffee table book even for those who have no intention of ever visiting NYC as well. This is definitely a   a gift book for the younger audience in the twenties and possibly thirties as well,  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Potter Style, an imprint of Crown publishers, a division of Random House LLC for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Hyacinth Girls by Lauren Frankel

Hyacinth Girls by Lauren Frankel, is a newly published novel with unexpected plots twists, with enough suspense to keep the reader glued to the pages.  I literally could not put the book down as I read the 292 page book from start to finish in one day.  While the theme may seem simple about teen-aged girls and bullying- it is much more complex.  What appears to be truth on the surface, is the opposite- and what one would least expect.  The story is told from from different perspectives- beginning with Callie's adoptive mother, and then from Callie's point of view. The emotional turmoil, fear and hopelessness felt by Callie, is evident through the pages of the book. The lament and remorse of a lost relationship with a close friend who she had betrayed is evidenced by the pain reflected in her correspondence.    The reader is invited to see the events unfolding from the point of view of a concerned mom.  Yet, when the point of view is switched to that of the young teen-aged daughter, the reader learns the unexpected and shocking truth- a reality so vividly horrible it is difficult to believe that teen-aged girls could be responsible for such inhuman monstrous treatment of another human being.  This book is an eye opener for sure- not just about bullying but about the unstated  and innermost thoughts that are beneath the surface.  It is an eyeopener to every mom out there, about making assumptions and being dismissive, and that there may be untold battles and secrets that adults may be too oblivious or busy to see. There is a world out there- the extent of which- adults may not be aware of when it comes to the lives of teenagers and the extent of damage from bullying.  This novel has made a lasting impact.  It is an eye opener for any parent and possibly teen or young adult as well.  As a blogger for Blogging For Books, I received a copy of this book published by Crown publishers, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Principles of Mathematics Book 1 Pack by Katherine A. Loop

Principles of Mathematics Book 1 Pack by Katherine A. Loop is a new Math curriculum for middle school students or grades 6-7.  This two book set includes the main text and a workbook.  For any parent who home- schools their older children, or for students who need an extra review, this is a comprehensive test that covers a vast amount of material.  In my opinion, this book is also a perfect remedial resource for adults who are returning to school or preparing for entrance exams for college.  This text covers fractions, decimals, statistics and anything one might expect in a standard 6th to 7th year math curriculum.  The conversational style of the writing is certain to invite any student.  It is as if you have your own private tutor by your side.  Rather than a dry Math text, this textbook is actually engaging to read.  In fact, the presentation and personal tone will draw in parents, educators as well as students to actually want to teach and to learn.  All to frequently, Math text books are known for dry reading- but Loop's text breaks the mold in her unique presentation. The soft cover and black and white graphics, and most notably the matte finish pages and lack of color give the textbook a study guide like impression, in contrast to the hard covered, glossy color text books used in public schools. I believe this economical format is to keep the overall costs down.  The material covered rivals the coverage of that in the public school curriculum.  Overall, this text set make a good choice for any home school parent or adult looking for a refresher course in Math.  For those parents with multiple children who are home schooled, one copy of the main text can be reused, and additional workbooks used for multiple children, as the workbook is intended for assignments.  As a blogger for Moms of Masterbooks, I received a copy of this book published by Master books for the purpose of this review.  If you want an engaging Math text to hold your attention as you learn- this is the choice to make.

Available at Masterbooks

Jesus Calling for Little Ones By Sarah Young

Jesus Calling for Little Ones By Sarah Young and illustrated by Antonia Woodward is a new little board book based on the well know "Jesus Calling" series. Written on the first person, as if God is speaking directly to a young child, each colorful two page spread features a simple reflection and a biblical verse.  Brightly colored art is featured on every page- with literally no dead white space.   Woodward's inviting drawings bring this book to life.  The art is better quality than what you would expect from a small board book.  My two youngest loved this board book.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book published by Tommy Nelson, an imprint of Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review.