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Book Review: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Traveler’s Guide to Batuu

Since my next trip is somewhat up in the air due to all the virus concerns, I’ve turned to day dreaming and planning future trips.  One location on my bucketlist is Batuu.  If you’re not in the know, Batuu is part of Galaxy’s Edge at the Disney resorts.  But this “in-world” guide is written as if it is it’s own actual location in the galaxy and gives you all the details you need to know about eating, shopping, etc just like any other travel guide for any “real” location.  I now am totally prepared for my future trip to Batuu! (And already picked out some outfits I may want to buy once I am there thanks to all the photos in the book of the shops!)

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Set your course for the edge of the galaxy to the planet Batuu where you’ll be immersed in the alluring offerings of a mysterious outpost and thriving port that is a haven for scoundrels, rogues and smugglers.

Upon arrival, you will have access to an authentic, in-world environment unlike anything you have ever experienced before! This official guide to Batuu is written completely in-world, as if you are a visitor from another part of the galaxy looking for recommendations on where to eat, shop, and sightsee while on your trip to this exciting location.

Highlighted features: Full-color photos, illustrations, and mapsOriginal content from Lucasfilm and Walt Disney ImagineeringBackstories to characters and locations found in Black Spire Outpost Whether living your adventure in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge or simply being an armchair traveler, this in-depth literary companion will delight any fan of Star Wars.

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Book Review: Your Year In Art: Watercolor

I have never been much of a watercolor painter, I never really got the right ratio of water to color and things would end up a runny mess.  I have seen some beautiful water colors though and I am always very jealous of those who can do it.  I was happy to read Your Year In Art: Watercolor which gives you all sorts of basics and techniques to get your started and then a project for each week of the year, getting more and more difficult as your skills advance!  I don’t have any of the art supplies needed for these but there were quite a few weekly projects that caught my eye (you know one was that panda on the front cover!) so I may have to remedy this and give water color another try with the help of this book.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Overcome your creative blocks and fears and start painting with confidence with Your Year in Art: Watercolor! Filled with weekly art challenges, step-by-step watercolor lessons, helpful tips and techniques, and gorgeous artwork, this follow-up to the drawing-focused Your Year in Art is a must-have for any watercolor artist.

Written and illustrated by Kristin Van Leuven, owner of the popular online art shop Hello Lovely People and author of Modern Watercolor (Walter Foster Publishing), Your Year in Art: Watercolor seeks to motivate and inspire. The book is divided into weekly art challenges and prompts that cover appealing themes like floralsbirds, and portraits, as well as inspirational ideas for painting patternsholiday decorationsscenery, and so much more. Lessons and prompts are guided but invite personalization so you can build your skills while celebrating your own unique style.

If you’re a beginning artist, you might feel intimidated by watercolor, a medium that doesn’t allow for many errors. However, Kristin Van Leuven makes watercolor fun and approachable with her easy-to-follow tips and free-flowing, expressive style. With her guidance, you’ll learn to embrace imperfection and use the lessons as inspiration, rather than something to imitate exactly.

With Your Year in Art: Watercolor, develop your own painting style and express yourself using watercolor!

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Book Review: Mini Chibi Art Class

Mini Chibi Art Class is a book all about how to draw Chibi characters.  I’m not much of an artist and even with these step by step details on how to draw a whole bunch of different adorable characters, I didn’t get very far.  But there are a ton of ideas in this book with the characters that already exist and then different outfits and hairstyles so you can make things your own!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

In this highly portable mini version of Chibi Art Class, renowned anime artist Yoai teaches you the art of chibi, step by adorable step.

Chibi is Japanese slang for “short,” and popular Instagram anime artist Yoai (@yoaihime) shows you how to draw these adorable doll-like characters in Mini Chibi Art ClassChibis are mini versions of Japanese anime and manga characters and are defined by their large heads and tiny bodies, both of which contribute to their kawaii, or cuteness, factor.

Here, you’ll learn how to create chibis’ signature bodies, facial features, and props, including dreamy eyes, fun clothes and shoes, vibrant hair, colorful accessories, and lively backgrounds. You’ll also learn how to color and shade your vertically challenged characters for optimal cuteness. This book also features 19 chibi tutorials with simplestep-by-step illustrations and instructions, inspiration galleries, blank body bases for you to start your own chibi drawings, and uncolored chibis for practicing coloring and shading.

Mini Chibi Art Class is part of a series of adorable mini versions of Race Point art reference books that include Mini Kawaii Doodle Class and Mini Kawaii Doodle Cuties.

Thanks to this take-anywhere crash course, soon you will be enhancing your notebooks, stationery, artwork, and more with your own unique chibi world. Mini Chibi Art Class is now in session!

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Book Review: The Grown-Up’s Guide to Crafting with Kids

The Grown-Ups Guide to Crafting with Kids has a TON of fun projects to do with kids and some of them seem to be pretty easy to pull off! And really fun and cute results.  Painting rocks to make them photo holders, painting leaves to make beautiful pastel rainbow wreaths, there are a ton of great ideas in here and a lot of ones I want to try and I don’t even have kids! (The space themed painted rocks are amazing, but I am not sure I am that talented!)  Definitely a lot of ideas to try if you are stuck inside and you may even already have some of these supplies around the house.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

The ideal follow-up to the much-buzzed-about The Grown-Up’s Guide to Making Art with Kids, The Grown-Up’s Guide to Crafting with Kids features more tactile projects that will improve kids’ fine motor and visual processing skills, in addition to strengthening their focus and memory. Plus, crafting is super fun!

The book follows the same format as the first in the Grown-Up’s Guide series, consisting of multiple creative promptsexercises, and step-by-step crafting projects that children and adults can do together. Author Vicki Manning, who runs a popular Instagram account where she regularly posts craft projects that she’s done with her own kids, The Grown-Up’s Guide to Crafting with Kids appeals to parents, caregivers, grandparents, teachers, and anyone else who wants to spend creative time with the kids in their lives. Kids will love working with adults to make crafts, which include:Clay robotsPom-pom ice-cream conesSun printingTreasure boxesWax-resist bookmarksAnd much moreChapters on tools and materialssourcing materials around the home and outside, and suggestions for engagement and craft-making are included as well.

With fun, colorful, and appealing artwork and projectseasy-to-follow instructions; and crafts made from accessible, affordable, and popular materialsThe Grown-Up’s Guide to Crafting with Kids will quickly become an essential book for families, preschool and elementary schools, art classes, and more.

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Book Review: Color Your World: A Walk On The Beach

In addition to being a really fun coloring book all about a trip to the beach, this book is also a journal with activities to draw and write about your trip to the beach!  Lots of fun things to color, do and learn in this book!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Collecting seashells, building towering sandcastles, playing in the surf, and having a picnic lunch are all part of a great day at the beach! Young beachcombers are guaranteed hours of fun as they enjoy the cute read-along story while coloring adorable pictures and learning fascinating facts in this imaginative book. Plus, there are easy recipes for take-along snacks, and even some journal pages for recording their own seaside discoveries.

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Book Review: Origami Collection

Origami Collection is from 2012 and contains a collection of beautiful images of origami.  The first half of the book shows all of the finished products and the second half contains prints that can be used as the paper to make your own and then the instructions on how to make the origami.  I didn’t try to make any, but very much so enjoyed admiring all the photos.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

 

About the Book

This book is a popular souvenir for foreigners and includes 32 different types of traditional Japanese origami with elegant patterns, with English translation to show you how to fold basic origami.

You can cut out a origami (18cm x 18cm) and use it right away, so even foreigners who have never used origami before can easily create their own works.

You also can enjoy this book just by looking at the various Japanese patterns.

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Book Review: The Code for Love and Heartbreak

The Code for Love and Heartbreak is supposed to be loosely based/retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma.  I hadn’t ever read Emma before, so I’m not so sure about that. (I will look it up a synopsis and let you know similarities at the end of this review.)  The book follows Emma who is a math genius that loves to code and is co-president of the coding club at school.  I saw a lot of myself in Emma – would much rather stay home and code than be social, doesn’t want a boyfriend, etc.  Except we never had a coding club when I was in high school and the guys in the one coding class that was offered at school couldn’t manage to figure out “Ctrl Alt Delete” (seriously!)   One part of the book really hit home “Sometimes I dream in code. When I work on a lot for a project, or right before bed, my subconscious is still there, filled with lines of code, and my dreams are laced with numbers and sequences.  I often wake up with the new ability to solve a problem that was bothering me in the code the night before, my mind having worked it out somehow while I slept.”  This has happened to me on multiple occasions and people think I am absolutely nuts when I tell them, so having someone else say this – even if it is a fictional character – made me feel validated.

Anyway. The book.  Coding Club needs to come up with a project to pitch for a championship and it comes down to George’s idea vs Emma’s.  George wants to create an app with karma points for how much you recycle and you can compete against your friends.  Emma wants to create an app that will match up the students at the school for love based on different attributes – what they look like, likes, dislikes, etc.  Emma’s idea ends up winning and the book follows them tweaking their algorithm and setting up various couples in the school based on the outcome of the matches.

We never do find out who Emma’s match was based on the algorithm and they have to create a “second chance” match option for those who broke up with their first, “best” option.

From reading a synopsis of Jane Austen’s Emma – it seems a lot of the character names are the same.  Emma is a matchmaker.  But The Code for Love and Heartbreak is a more modern version. Now I’m thinking I might want to go read the original…

Either way this is a very cute YA book and I enjoyed it.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

 

About the Book

In this contemporary romcom retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma by USA TODAY bestselling author Jillian Cantor, there’s nothing more complex—or unpredictable—than love.

When math genius Emma and her coding club co-president, George, are tasked with brainstorming a new project, The Code for Love is born.

George disapproves of Emma’s idea of creating a matchmaking app, accusing her of meddling in people’s lives. But all the happy new couples at school are proof that the app works. At least at first.

Emma’s code is flawless. So why is it that perfectly matched couples start breaking up, the wrong people keep falling for each other, and Emma’s own feelings defy any algorithm?

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Book Review: Little Cities: San Francisco

I absolutely loved these “Little Cities” books, that are geared towards kids and teaching them about some of the landmarks in the city.  I had previously read 3 – of cities I had visited.  This is the first one of a city I have not yet visited, but is very high on my bucket list!

This book features San Francisco – Golden Gate Bridge! Fisherman’s Wharf! Alcatraz! And more!   A fun way to introduce your child to new cities.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Little ones will love exploring the museums, monuments, and more with the help of this handy guide to the city of San Francisco.

Whether they’re San Francisco natives or on vacation, this board book is ideal for young children who want to learn more about this incredible city. Colorful images of famous landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge engage the attention of young readers, while fascinating facts help to engage children’s interest in their surroundings. For instance, did you know that when the Golden Gate Bridge was built, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world? Or that the city is built on more than 50 hills?

This board book highlights child-friendly attractions and features fun activities for kids to do. From famous landmarks and beautiful parks, to the cable cars and amazing buildings, this board book is the perfect children’s guide to the unique attractions of San Francisco.

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Book Review: 10 Blind Dates

10 Blind Dates was a really cute book.  Sophie doesn’t want to go visit her sister over Christmas break with her parents, so instead she goes to her grandparents house.  Before she leaves, she goes to a party, only to overhear her boyfriend, Griffin, saying he wants to break up with her because the rest of their time in school should be “fun”.  She shows up on her Nonna’s porch in tears and Nonna devises a plan to get her mind off of it – Nonna and her very, very large family will pick out 10 blind dates for her to go on – one every night she is there (minus Christmas Eve and Christmas, of course!)

The book then follows Sophie on these 10 dates – some are sweet, some are horrible and some are even worse than that… but the whole time she ends up realizing she may have feelings for her cousin’s best friend that she has been friends with practically her whole life. But one problem. He has a girlfriend.

I enjoyed reading this book and following Sophie’s journey to get over heart break.  I couldn’t keep track of all her family members though! There were just so many of them! (I don’t envy the author for having to come up with that many names and personalities either, whew!)  I even teared up a couple times reading it. (Aww.)  Definitely a sweet, quick read.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship.
Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.
When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.
This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever . . . or is it?

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Book Review: Vagina Problems

Lara Parker wrote “Vagina Problems” because talking about it is taboo and she wants to help normalize it.  She suffers from endometriosis, a condition that effects 1 in 10 women, yet it took her years and years to be properly diagnosed all the while she had to deal with terrible pain that no one was really able to help her with.  I can’t even imagine!

I think this is a great book for anyone who may be dealing with the same kind of condition – she talks about what did and didn’t work for her (and while everyone’s bodies are different, it could be a good place to start for some) and how she dealt with dating when she couldn’t have sex because it was to painful and just dealing in day to day life before she could get things properly diagnosed and a bit more under control.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Shrill meets Everything Below the Waist in this raw and sharply-funny account of Lara Parker’s experience of endometriosis from diagnosis, to dating without sex, to work-life balance and more

When Lara Parker first started experiencing what she calls her Vagina Problems, she was just 14 years old. She hurt everywhere, but especially in her abdomen and vagina. The pain was constant, and worse around her period. But if she’d learned anything about periods before she even started her own, it was that you didn’t talk about that shit.

So she mostly just tried to ignore it, even as her period made her throw up, pass out, miss school, and wrecked an entire week of her life every month. She convinced herself that everyone must be feeling what she was feeling, but that they were just better at hiding it. When she finally brought it up to her doctor, the doctor brushed it off and made her feel stupid. “Periods are supposed to hurt,” she said. This was only the beginning of Lara’s seven-year journey to find out what was going on in her body. It took multiple doctors, thousands of dollars, and a refusal to take no for an answer for her to finally have some sort of understanding of what was causing her so much pain.

Now Lara is ready take an honest, funny, relatable, and raw look at how Vagina Problems have affected every single part of her life. From fighting to get a diagnosis, to maintaining relationships through illness and depression, to working a full-time job with chronic pain, to navigating the dating scene when she can’t have sex—this book will have it all. Lara acts as a guide, a confidant, a friend, an outlet, and a support system to anyone who has ever gone through Vagina Problems.

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