Monday, December 11, 2017

St. Aubyn's take on "King Lear"

Edward St. Aubyn's "Dunbar" was a surprisingly riveting novel for me.  I honestly do not remember all the details of Shakespeare's "King Lear" from my high school curriculum, but I certainly thought "Dunbar" was a thoroughly enjoyable take on the old Shakespeare classic. 

Admittedly, the novel picked up a bit slowly for my taste.  Overall, though, underneath all of the family drama (on steroids) in "Dunbar", the hunger for power and the bittersweet power of forgiveness pulled me through each page.  I would recommend this for someone who appreciates Shakespeare's tragedies as well as someone not as familiar with Shakespeare.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Creative - belongs in its own genre

Emily Barton presents a very intriguing and highly original story line in "The Book of Esther."  I had trouble putting down the book, but I also had trouble deciphering in which genre this book belongs.  Barton interestingly toes the line between historical fiction (but not really), fantasy (but not wholly) - all on nearly Biblical scales.  

Overall, a worthwhile read from a very gifted storyteller.  I think fantasy-fiction oriented readers would enjoy this more than historical-fiction readers.  

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this honest review.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Larry Shepard's Hemi guide

Yet another useful how-to from CarTech:  "New Hemi Engines 2003 to Present:  How to build Max Performance" as presented by Larry Shepard.

In about 140 pages, Shepard covers basically everything you need to know about enhancing Hemi engines, which he points out is still currently developing and changing fast.  Shepard provides detailed descriptions, instructions, specs, and tips on everything from cylinder blocks to computer electronics. 

The format of the book is very easy to follow, and it definitely feels like a how-to presented by a professional to the everyday man.  The pictures included on every page are great quality.  The only con I would like to point out is some of the illustrations do not feel very "polished" and if they were more professionally drawn, I think it would really enhance the quality of this how-to guide.  This is a secondary factor, however, so the illustrations don't take away from the overall book.

I received this book from CarTech for this honestly review.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

An extensive palette index

Jim Krause starts off "Color Index XL" with a brief, informative introduction to color theory, which leads straight into almost 300 pages of palettes (4 palettes per page).  The way he sections the palettes (warmer, mixed, and cooler palettes) makes it easy to sift through the book.

I personally see a lot of potential in this book as a great starting point while brainstorming new projects, but I can also see how this book would be useful in just about any step of the artistic process.  

My only complaint about this handy palette guide is the four patterns Krause alternates between to lay out the colors for each palette.  It's pretty to look at, but after more than half an hour my eyes start to hurt.  I wish he stuck with one pattern per section of the book (warmer, mixed, cooler palettes), or maybe bigger shapes to lay out the patterns may have helped me here.

Overall, Jim Krause's "Color Index XL" is a very useful guide that I will surely be using regularly in my future projects. 

I have received this book from Blogging for Books for this honest review.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Russell's "Fliers" is a hit or miss

As advertised, Nathaniel Russell's "Fliers:  20 Small Posters with Big Thoughts" is a quirky, gift-worthy collection of thought-provoking posters.  Some are silly, some pose questions deeper than face value - and all of Russell's "fliers" require a sort of double take.  Perhaps this is a matter of personal taste, but I felt like some of Nathaniel Russell's humor was a bit lost on me.  Also, a few of the fliers felt like they were trying a little too hard to drive the point.

Even though this book did not really "click" with me, I did appreciate the set up of the collection.  Each flier is removable and can actually be used as a poster (heavyweight paper).  I also really appreciated the cover, which unfolds as a poster itself.

My overall impression was great quality posters, though some of the contents were hit or miss.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this honest review.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Learn to watercolor in 30 days

Jenna Rainey's "Everyday Watercolor:  Learn to Paint Watercolor in 30 Days" is a very well put together guide through the basics of watercolor.  I myself have dabbled a little with watercolor, but I find Rainey's guide useful since she goes through specific techniques with the brush.  After introducing all the basic techniques, she suggests projects to apply what you've learned for the first few weeks.  I appreciate the guided intro feel to this book.

If you are already an experienced watercolor artist, this book is probably not for you.  If you are a beginner or someone like me - dabbler, but not familiar with all the basic techniques, this is a perfect intro guide!  The daily exercises are actually manageable for one day - it's not a huge time commitment.  I look forward to completing all 30 days.  Check back for updates!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Dr. Beddingfield's "Med School Uncensored"

As a former pre-med student, I appreciated many points to this book.  There are far more books out there about how to get into med school versus books about what happens during and after med school (which is really the most important part!).  And, there are a lot of common knowledge bits of medical school and beyond that are not quite common knowledge when starting out.  Here, Dr. Beddingfield outlines the key points of making it through medical school (from board exams to relationship advice) and beyond medical school.  He even gives a rough outline of beyond residency; I was surprised he even included a section on malpractice suits during practice.  

The only thing that I wish Dr. Beddingfield had included was a section on non-traditional medical school students.  There are plenty of people who apply to med school after a traditional 4-year track, but what about those who do career changes, or even have gap years and need to manage their married/parenting lives during the medical school years and beyond?

Overall, though, this is a great overview of life as a medical school student and as a doctor afterwards.  If you are looking for advice on how to get into med school, this book is not for you.  And this book is also not the end-all-be-all for advice throughout the med school years.  It's a great read in your downtime as a rough overview of what to generally expect in the years ahead.  

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this honest review.