Tag Archives: books

A Well-Crafted Home: Inspiration and 60 Projects for Personalizing Your Space by Janet Crowther

A beautiful, practical book for both aspiring makers and seasoned crafters. Here are 60 projects for high-quality furniture, textiles, and accessories to enjoy all through the house–plus all the techniques you need for dyeing or sewing fabric, cutting leather, antiquing mirrors, working with wood, and much more.

A Well-Crafted Home
 includes simple, creative details that will tailor a space to your taste. More than just -DIY- crafts, these carefully designed projects call for good materials–like linen, leather, and wood–so the finished product will last you a lifetime. Ranging from beginner to more advanced, each item elevates a room in a way you’d never expect: a large-scale painting with an effortless -dot- design looks like a modern piece of art, flax linen bedding sewn with a few easy seams is gorgeous way to set off the bed (and is more affordable than you would think), and a copper pipe rack for hanging clothes is so pretty, you’ll want to keep it on display.
There’s something for every room in this book:

The Entryway: 
Dowel Wall Hooks, Reclaimed Wood Bench, Woven Leather Basket, Soft Planter Cover, Block-Print Pillow, Looped-Tassel Wall Hanging

The Living Room: Dyed Fabric Ottoman, Tassel Wall Banner, Bleach-Dot Lumbar Pillow, Flange-Edge Throw Pillow, Tied Shibori Throw Pillow, Gemstone Box, Air-Dry Clay Bowl, Rolling Trunk Storage, Glass-Cover Pendant Lamp

The Kitchen: Wooden Herb Planter, Rustic Footed Cutting Board, Quilted Cushions, Leather-Loop Tea Towels, Ombre Ceramic Vase

The Dining Room: 
Heirloom Linen Tablecloth, Indigo-Stripe Napkins, Leather Napkin Rings, Clay Candlesticks, Boro Stitched Trivet, Beaded Light Fixture,

The Bedroom: 
Framed Cane Headboard; Linen Bedding with Duvet, Shams, and Pillowcases; Simple Stitch Throw Pillow; Sewn Leather Pillow; Trimmed Waffle-Weave Blanket; Modern Latch-Hook Stool; Dyed Fabric Art in Round Mat; Natural Jute Rug; Painted Ceramic Tray; Acrylic Side Table; Refurbished Table Lamp; Boro Stitched Memory Quilt

The Closet: Copper Garment Rack, Leaning Floor Mirror, Wall Shoe Display, Thread-Wrapped Pendant Light, Liberty Print Hamper, Antiqued Mirror Table

The Bathroom: 
Natural Wood Stump, Oak Tub Tray, Knotted Rope Ladder, Terry-cloth Towels, Leather Wastebasket

The Outdoor Oasis: Simple Sewn Hammock, Painted Wood Stump, Restored-Frame Tray, Ice-Dyed Blanket, Colorwash Sheepskin

With beautiful photographs of rooms styled with all of the projects, A Well-Crafted Home proves that even the smallest touch of handmade can make a house a home.  – Goodreads

I. Love. This. Book.

I was so incredibly excited when I saw this as an option for a review on Blogging For Books (I received a copy in exchange for an honest review). I recently bought a new house and am having a fun time updating rooms and decorating — pretty much everything in this book is my “style”.

The instructions are easy to follow, the photos are gorgeous, and the projects are completely doable for someone who isn’t the handiest or craftiest person on the planet. Each project has the skill level labeled, from beginner to advanced.

If you enjoy DIY projects or things that resemble what is sold at Anthropologie, pick this book up — you won’t regret it. I’m looking forward to working on some projects for my new home.

 

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Morning Glory by Diana Peterfreund

Desperately in need of a job, yet still full of boundless optimism, Becky vows to land on her feet and stumbles into an opportunity at Daybreak, a floundering network morning news program in New York City. Abysmal ratings are only the tip of the iceberg: Executive producers seldom survive beyond the next commercial break, and the outdated cameras belong in the Smithsonian.

Promising the head of the network that she can reverse the downward spiral, Becky makes legendary newscaster Mike Pomeroy an offer he can’t contractually refuse. She successfully adds Pomeroy to the team, but he refuses to participate in any Daybreak fluff pieces and morning show staples like celebrity gossip, weather, fashion, and crafts. What’s more, he takes an instant dislike to his equally difficult co-anchor, Colleen Peck, a former beauty queen.The only bright spot in Becky’s career is Adam Bennett, a gorgeous fellow producer, but Daybreak’s dysfunction spells trouble for their blossoming relationship. As Mike and Colleen’s on-air chemistry proves more explosive every day, Becky must scramble to save her love life, her reputation, her job, and, ultimately, Daybreak itself. – Goodreads

I saw this on sale and thought, why not? I’d recently watching the movie version and was in a rare mood for some fluffy chick lit.

Some background — this was a novelization of the movie. The movie came out in 2010 and starred Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton.

I liked the premise of the story — I wanted to be a journalist in college and am familiar with the news industry. However, Becky fell flat as a main character for me. Becky is tenacious and dedicated to her job — as a result, she’s obsessed with news and her BlackBerry. Becky mentions how her dating life is a flop because she’s so addicted to her BlackBerry. Look, I’m a millenial. I understand being addicted to my phone. Hell, I forgot my phone at home during a short afternoon of errands this week and felt as if I’d lost a limb. HOWEVER, constantly checking your phone on a first date and then getting upset because said date is fed up? Nah, girl.

The other characters also fell flat for me. Adam, the love interest, had potential. Mike was my favorite character — perhaps I was picturing Harrison Ford’s character from the movie, but I thought he was the most dimensional and least annoying. Which is confusing, because his character was supposed to be annoying.

In all, it wasn’t a terrible read. It was light, it was fluffy, it was predictable. Personally, I’d stick to the movie and skip the book. I rated it a 2/5 on Goodreads.

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Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”  Read the rest of the summary on Goodreads.

Ready for one of those embarrassing, obsessive reviews? Good, because that’s how this one is going to be.

Let me start by explaining how I got my mitts on this book. I had some extra Audible credits and needed to paint my kitchen, so I downloaded this simply because I thought it was Aziz Ansari’s autobiography and I love Aziz, so I figured his narration would be awesome.

Much to my surprise, it was not an autobiography, but a well-researched book on modern dating. I spent eight hours painting my kitchen and didn’t even realize it because I was so sucked into this damn audiobook…even though Aziz kept telling me how damn lazy I was for LISTENING to the book instead of READING it. I was painting, okay?!

The findings and research in the book is lightened up with Aziz’s comedic relief. What I’m trying to say is….it’s hilarious. I enjoyed the humorous touch.

The book goes into texting, online dating, and how different cultures date in modern society. The book also looks at the history of dating (IE, back in the day, most people would meet someone in their ‘hood and get married to escape their parents).

One interesting concept covered in the book had to do with online dating and how it opens up our options. “The world is available to us, but that may be the problem,” said Ansari. Meaning, we have a difficult time settling with one individual because we KNOW how easy it is to shop for the next one or to see what is available at our fingertips.

Another concept addressed in the book is expectations we place on our significant others, which is different now than it was back in the day. We expect our SOs to be our soulmate, our confidant, our best friend, our travel buddy, our therapist, our sexual partner…basically everything. We expect them to give us happiness and give us joy. We rely wholeheartedly on our SO to provide these functions that, in the past, an SO wasn’t expected to provide. Personally, I think this is fascinating — how can you possibly expect one person to provide all of these services? Is it really up to another human to make you happy? I don’t think so. I think we place a lot of expectations on our relationships, which leads to unmet expectations, which often leads to failure. I believe an SO is someone who should complement your life, encourage you to be better and be your teammate. However, I don’t think an SO is your “other half”…I’d prefer to have another “whole” person to spend my life with — with our own respective hobbies, etc. — than a half.

If you’re expecting a humorous book detailing Aziz Ansari/Tom Haverford’s dating escapades, this book is not for you. This book is a sociological study of the evolution of dating…which, by the way, I rate a 5/5 and will be rereading soon.

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Mason doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.  – Goodreads

Get ready for a bunch of “self-help” book reviews, people. I’m doing house projects and these type of books are the easiest to listen on audiotape to while doing other activities — I have a tendency to get distracted if I’m listening to fiction.

I’m adding a read more link due to the excessive use of the F-word in the following review. Read more at your discretion.  Continue reading

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The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her. – Goodreads

Ahhhh. This was one of those reads where everyone seems to love it, but I really didn’t care about it.

For one, the instalove was nauseating. Kalinda lives in seclusion from men for her life, and the first man she sees inevitably turns out to be her love interest within about five minutes. This occurred in the first chapter or two of the book, so I was already annoyed.

I was also annoyed because the first chapter details Kalinda as unattractive, a poor fighter, and generally unremarkable. However, in the first few chapters, she defeats a stronger fighter and is called beautiful by several other characters. What? I’m confused.

Basically the entire book was about girls fighting each other to win over the affections of a dude. I finished it, but I didn’t love it and probably won’t recommend it. 2/5 on Goodreads.

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Cage of Deceit by Jennifer Anne Davis

Sixteen-year-old Allyssa appears to be the ideal princess of Emperion—she’s beautiful, elegant, and refined. She spends her days locked in a suffocating cage, otherwise known as the royal court. But at night, Allyssa uses her secret persona—that of a vigilante—to hunt down criminals and help her people firsthand.

Unfortunately, her nightly escapades will have to wait because the citizens of Emperion may need saving from something much bigger than common criminals. War is encroaching on their kingdom and in order to protect her people, Allyssa may have to sacrifice her heart. Forced to entertain an alliance through marriage with a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom, she finds herself feeling even more stifled than before. To make matters worse, the prince has stuck his nosy squire, Jarvik, to watch her every move.

Jarvik is infuriating, bossy and unfortunately, the only person she can turn to when she unveils a heinous plot. Together, the unlikely pair will have to work together to stop an enemy that everyone thought was long gone, one with the power to destroy her family and the people of Emperion. Now the cage Allyssa so longed to break free from might just be the one thing she has to fight to keep intact. In order to save her kingdom, she will have to sacrifice her freedom, her heart, and maybe even her life. – Goodreads

I think I’m part of the minority, but I wasn’t head over heels for this book. I know, I know.

I like Allyssa — she was an alright MC. However, in true YA fantasy fashion, Allyssa is doomed to take part in an arranged marriage, which eats up most of the first half of the book. Though I can obviously understand not WANTING to be forced into an arranged marriage, Allyssa’s apprehensions come off as angsty and whiny, to a point where she deliberately puts her own safety (and that of her friend) at stake to go gallavanting into the night. She’s a badass, she can fight — I will give her that.

The “plot twist” is something you can spot from a mile away. It’s apparent from the moment it shows up and the first clue is given. I won’t delve into it anymore, but I was annoyed at how easy it was to figure out.

Also, side note, since I’m on a rant — I understand the name of the book is Cage of Deceit, but holy shit. If I had a dollar for everytime I read the words ‘gilded cage’ or literally just ‘cage’ in a metaphorical context,  I would have enough money to buy many books.

This was a miss for me, but don’t let my pessimism discourage you — Jennifer is a good writer and I will read other work from her in the future. I rated this a 2/5.

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The Other series by Anne Bishop

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow. – Goodreads

This…it’s seriously a contender for my top favorite series of 2017. Sure, it’s only June, but still…I loved this series. I read books 1-4, so this review is for the entire series. It’s a little difficult to cover an entire series, so bear with me.

The books are written in third-person, which allows the reader to get a glimpse into everyone’s emotions and views. This was especially handy because each, er, species of individual views humans (or Others) differently.

My favorite part of the entire series were the characters — everyone, no matter how small, was developed well. Though Meg was extremely annoying with her naive nature and almost juvenile ways, it made sense with her upbringing. Throughout the series you can see Meg grow and become stronger. Simon also changed dramatically throughout the entire series.

The underlying romance plot is light and is almost an afterthought. Without giving too much away, I found myself subconsciously BEGGING the author to make some sparks fly or something. PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE.

Anne Bishop is a great writer — I was completely enveloped in the world she had crafted. If you enjoy fantasy fiction, seriously, do yourself a favor and pick this up.

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Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

A luminous debut with unexpected twists, Everything We Keep explores the devastation of loss, the euphoria of finding love again, and the pulse-racing repercussions of discovering the truth about the ones we hold dear and the lengths they will go to protect us.

Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancé, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.

As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever. – Goodreads

I’m not quite sure how to feel about this one. Yes, I read it in a short amount of time because I was curious about what would happen next.

I thought the entire story was very…predictable. Though I have to give Lonsdale props for the unique storyline, many of the twists felt extremely convenient and I often found myself rolling my eyes. I obviously can’t provide any examples here, though, because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.

The timeline of the book is also confusing. Sometimes months would go by from chapter to chapter, with the entire story spanning about 16-18 months. I don’t mind the span of time, but I think it could have been more clear how much time had passed and less jumpy.

Lastly, before I say some good things — I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters. Aimee fell flat for me, as she was either the grieving widow or magically healed and in love. The only time her personality came through was when she talked about her cafe. Her friends were obviously only in the story as a way to connect her to Ian and push her to go to Mexico. I still don’t know who the F Lana is. Ian is a stage-five clinger. James was way too damn perfect. I just…couldn’t identify with anyone, and thus cared about no one.

The book was paced well, though, and despite it’s flaws, held my interest. This is a good beach read if you’re looking for something light.

I rated it a 2/5 on Goodreads.

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Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast? – Goodreads

This book was beautifully written — I couldn’t put it down. I’m a sucker for a fairytale retelling and this one was one of the best I’ve read.

Yeva is beautiful — almost obnoxiously so, as the book kept referring to it (my only qualm with the story). Yeva doesn’t want to settle down and get married — she wants to spend her days outdoors, hunting like her father. When her father goes crazy hunting for a creature in the woods, Yeva decides to track the creature as well.

I enjoyed Yeva’s character. She was deep, I could connect with her, and I truly cared about her. I also like the Beast’s character — though the “plot twist” was super obvious, I enjoyed his story and how he came to be.

The world was constructed well — I could picture the castle, the woods, the dogs, everything. I enjoyed the magical elements and how the parallel magical world played into the “real” world.

I can’t say too much more without giving it away — if you enjoy fairytale retellings, definitely give this one a shot. I rated it a 5/5 on Goodreads and added it to my favorites shelf.

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Everything You Need You Have by Gerad Kite

29807307Gerad Kite was a therapist for years before realizing all the talk and analysis weren’t making a lasting difference in the lives of his patients. So he quit his practice and looked for a new way to help people feel better. What he discovered is a different approach to finding a secret, peaceful, and permanent place inside yourself that you can access at all times, a path to getting out of your head, to surrender to what is. You’ll see that you already have what you need to be happy and well.
Kite draws on the principles of ancient Chinese philosophy and his extensive experience helping people from all walks of life as a relaxation and acupuncture expert. His ten steps will show you how to tune in to your natural rhythms, view your emotions from a different perspective, and finally experience a state of bliss that you can return to again and again.
The secret to feeling at home in yourself isn’t therapy, meditation, silencing your phone, throwing out your possessions or traveling the world. The answer is already inside you. – Goodreads

It was an interesting read, but I wasn’t completely in love with this read. It was…average at best.

If it’s your first time reading a book on meditation and enlightenment, then it’s a great choice. If you’ve been around the block a few times, it’s nothing new. I do think that Kite does a great job at taking complex ideas of Taoism and ancient Chinese concepts and breaks them down into everyday language, but it was a mess of ideas at times, too.

I do like the overall idea of looking inward for fulfillment and validation — so often we look externally for those feelings and are usually let down.

Overall, it was a quick little read, but it just didn’t resonate with me. I rated it a 3/5. I was given a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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