Monday, January 21, 2019

book chat - Tiny Stitches

Tiny Stitches: Buttons, Badges, Patches, and Pins to Embroider by Irem Yazici, Published November 13th 2018 by Roost Books

What a great collection of embroidery projects! I love the small scale of the projects. These would be perfect for a beginner to try their hand at embroidery without committing to a large project that may never be finished or for someone more advanced just looking for a quick project. There are plenty of cute patterns to choose among - from buttons to patches and badges to small hoop projects. I especially love the cat paw patch, tree hugger badge and desert and forest landscapes. The book includes step by step guidance for each featured pattern and a stitch guide for those not familiar with the various embroidery stitches. 
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this fun book. All comments are my own, unbiased opinion. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

book chat - Vertical Vegetables

Here's one for those of you planning your garden for Spring!

Vertical Vegetables: Simple Projects that Deliver More Yield in Less Space by Amy Andrychowicz, Published October 2018 by Cool Springs Press

As someone with a small yard, I love the idea of using vertical space for expanding my gardening possibilities. The author goes over the basics of vertical gardening, how to choose what to grow and care of the plants and finally, the various ways to grow vertically - from trellises and other structures to train plants upward to creating living walls and hanging gardens to various planters and towers (including instructions for building your own of a variety of styles). There's an option to fit basically any growing space you have available. What I love here is that the various options aren't just practical space-savers, but are visually appealing so they add to the landscape in addition to being functional. Aside from having a small space in which to garden, many of the vertical options will also help in my fight against pests. I'm already planning next year's garden!
Thank you to the author Amy Andrychowicz, Quarto Publishing Group - Cool Springs Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this informative book. All comments are my own, unbiased opinion. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

book chat - How to Be Alive

How to Be Alive by Colin Beavan, Published January 5th 2016 by Dey Street Books (first published August 11th 2015)
I don't often read a book twice, which is why I so rarely buy a book these days other than reference type books such as cookbooks and those on various hobbies, etc. I first borrowed this book from the library nearly three years ago and enjoyed it. I then listened to the audiobook version last summer.

I first became aware of Beavan when I watched the documentary of No Impact Man. A guy in NYC trying to only have a positive impact? What's not to love?! Sure, some of his experiments during that year were extreme and not sustainable over time, but it was entertaining and also educational.

In this book, Beavan addresses a wide variety of world issues and how we can have the impact we want to have and live a life in line with our values. He also discusses focusing on areas (environmental, social, etc) that are most important to us to have the biggest impact and not beating ourselves up for not being able to do everything perfectly all the time. I love his "do what you can" attitude. This would be a perfect fit for anyone wanting to make a more positive impact, especially those who feel overwhelmed by all the problems in the world today. Well worth a read in my opinion. =)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

book chat - The Japanese Larder

The Japanese Larder by Luiz Hara, Published October 16th 2018 by White Lion Publishing
This is a very handy book for anyone interested in Japanese cooking! Each chapter focuses on a type of food - seasonings, dried/fermented foods, rice/noodles/tofu, fruits/vegetables, etc. The photos that accompany the recipes are beautifully shot. Recipe ingredients are listed by weight and volume in most cases - a nice inclusion for better accuracy. While many of the recipes aren't ones I particularly will be trying since I don't consume animal products, I still found quite a number of recipes I will be trying out and hopefully adding to my favorites. Aside from the recipes, this book would make a perfect reference for cooks looking to branch out and use ingredients they may be less familiar with.
Thank you to Quarto Publishing Group - Jacqui Small and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this informative book in exchange for my honest review.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

book chat - Bird Box

You've likely seen this one, well, everywhere at this point. Netflix is pretty good at that. The premise is, something is out there and when people see it, they go crazy and kill themselves.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman, Published May 14th 2014 by HarperAudio (first published March 27th 2014)
When I saw the movie pop up on Netflix and saw it was a book first, I really wanted to read the book first even though I don't usually go for horror-type books. Rarely does the movie live up to the book though and it seemed like there would be enough story to pull me in. Happily, my library had the audiobook to download so I listened while I worked, then watched the movie after.

The audiobook is 9+ hours, the movie only 2, so I wasn't surprised by how much was changed. They can only cram so much in and a lot needed to change to make it work on screen. I love Sandra Bullock but yeah, if you're only going to do one or the other, read the book. That said, after what felt like a rushed first half, the movie did get better, but I still think the book was better.

If you like suspense, this will likely be a good pick.

Monday, January 14, 2019

book chat - The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room by Tommy Tomlinson, January 15th 2019 by Simon Schuster
I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. I didn't expect so much honesty, humor and heart. Yes, this book is about Tommy Tomlinson's weight loss journey, but it's more about his life and what led him to this point with a short accounting of each month's progress, loss or gain. It's refreshing to hear someone taking full responsibility for his own state, rather than blaming his parents, society and/or the the companies making and advertising the unhealthy foods he consumed to get him where he was.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

book chat - Travels in Alaska

Columbia Glacier

Travels in Alaska by John Muir, Published May 1st 2012 by Blackstone Audiobooks
I've always been drawn to Alaska and spent 14 years following high school living there. Muir write beautifully of the landscape and Native Alaskans. My favorite chapter was that of his glacial adventure with Stickeen. Silly dog should have listened and stayed home but boy did he have a story to tell! For anyone who hasn't yet laid eyes on a glacier, put it on your list. While you don't have to go to Alaska to see glaciers, I highly recommend it!
Me (circa 2006) while on a day cruise in Prince William Sound to Columbia Glacier
If you do make it to Valdez, check out the Lu-Lu Belle! They were awesome!