Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Book Review - Colored Pencil Painting Portraits


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Colored Pencil Painting Portraits provides straightforward solutions to the problems that artists face in creating lifelike images, and will prime readers on the intricacies of color, texture, shadow, and light as they interplay with the human form. In this truly comprehensive guide packed with step-by-step demonstrations, Nickelsen considers working from photo references versus live models; provides guidance on posing and lighting, as well as planning and composing a work; discusses tools, materials, and revolutionary layering techniques; and offers lessons on capturing gesture and expression and on rendering facial and body features of people of all age groups and skin tones.

MY REVIEW:

This is an amazing book! It's hard to believe that the portraits are done with colored pencils. I sat in awe of each and every portrait in the book.

The book starts by sharing the products that the author recommends and uses to create these masterpieces. I love how each product is described and what it's used for. There are so many things I didn't even know were available to make creating your colored pencil pieces work the way you want and to stand out in the end.

She goes into so many wonderful step-by-step procedures that make it easy to create your own portrait. She explains lighting, posing, the elements of facial features and more. The great thing about this book is you'll be able to use the techniques for more than portraits.

I highly recommend this book if you want to learn how to create beautiful portraits in colored pencil. I learned so much from this amazing book and have been able to implement these great lessons into my own art. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by the Blogging for Books program


Blessings - Julie

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Book Review - The Return

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family's rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans--but then she never had to. Not until the night she's taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she's developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.
Greatly anguished by Betsy's captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans's hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna's Crossing, The Newcomer, and The Return in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop's Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

MY REVIEW:

This is the third book in the Amish Beginnings series but I was never lost as to what was going on. I like when you can come into a series and not be wondering what's going on.

This is a wonderful historical fiction novel. It's definitely not your typical Amish story and I really enjoyed how the author brought so many interesting historical facts into this book.

This story is set in Pennsylvania and follows the story of German and Amish settlers trying to build a new life in a new land. I found this particularly interesting because my own family was one of the first settlers in Pennsylvania and it gave me a real insight to what they would have gone through.

I loved the complexity of the storyline and the characters that you felt like you knew because they were so well developed. There's a huge cast but the author gives you a "cheat sheet" of characters in the front, which is helpful at first.

There's a lovely, complicated, romantic storyline as well. I enjoyed going along on the ride of this romantic tale because it was complex and not typical.

I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it. The history is interesting and the book is definitely a page turner. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Revell


Blessings - Julie

Book Review - Fault Lines

ABOUT THE BOOK:

What if reality is only the edge of possibility?

There isn't much that can throw Charlie Hazard off balance. But the mystery woman with the striking eyes and the intense request to follow her--now--is about to shake his world. Knowing little more than her name, Charlie leaves his post as a guard at the Satellite Beach community center for what he thinks is just another risk-containment job. But Gabriella, an experimental psychologist, has far more in store for him than protection duty--if the two of them survive the test.

Reese Clawson relishes her work at the Combine and all the perks and power that come with it--including the ability to manipulate perceptions. But the Combine never anticipated this mind-shifting technology. If Gabriella's experiments succeed, the Combine would be destroyed. And Reese will never allow that to happen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Thomas Locke is a pseudonym for Davis Bunn, an award-winning novelist with worldwide sales of seven million copies in twenty languages. Davis divides his time between Oxford and Florida and holds a lifelong passion for speculative stories. He is the author of Emissary and Merchant of Alyss in the Legends of the Realm series, as well as Trial Run and Flash Point in the Fault Lines series. Learn more at www.tlocke.com.

MY REVIEW:

I have always enjoyed a good science fiction book and this story absolutely fits that description!

I will be honest and tell you it took me a bit to figure out what was really going on but the wonderful writing and suspense kept me turning page after page to try and figure out what was happening. It was worth it because this is an exceptional book.

We are introduced to the hero of the book right away. Charlie is a guy that other men want for their best friend and women love because of his strength and loyalty. He's a "risk containment specialist" and he's used to dealing with difficult situations. He also seems to enjoy the risk that comes with these situations.

I also liked Gabriella even though I wasn't sure what was really going on with her. Her experiments are part of the plot that kept me coming back asking, what next? I liked her easy personality and could understand why Charlie would trust her.

This is definitely a story that's "out there", but then, in this genre, that's what makes it extra good. You want to be asking yourself if this could really happen or not. It's a story that keeps your mind turning and I enjoy that a lot. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Revell


Blessings - Julie

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Book Review - Egypt's Sister

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Raised together in the Alexandrian palace, Chava, the Hebrew daughter of the royal tutor, and Urbi, an Egyptian princess, become as close as sisters--and rivals with their dreams of greatness. When Urbi unexpectedly ascends the throne as Queen Cleopatra, Chava believes their bond is strong enough to survive. But absolute power has a way of changing everything.

The ultimate betrayal rips Chava from everything she's ever known and sends her to the lowest rung of Roman society where she must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God's will for her life, if she hopes to rise again.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The author of more than 100 published books and with nearly 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, Angela completed her PhD in Biblical Studies in Theology.

She and her husband live in Florida with their mastiffs. She can be found online at www.angelahuntbooks.com.

MY REVIEW:

I always enjoy historical fiction and this book about the early years of Cleopatra and those around her was very interesting indeed.

We start out getting to know Urbi, the Egyptian princess who will become Queen and her friend, Chava. The story is really told from the point of view of Chava and I really enjoyed how the story is seen through her eyes.

Chava has lived a life of luxury with Urbi and they have been best friends. However, after Urbi becomes Queen, Chava is determined to be supportive and to her. Unfortunately, they have a disagreement and Chava is torn from all she has known to be sold into slavery and live a totally different life than she is used to.

It was interesting to me to see Chava's jewish beliefs and her belief in God evolve as she goes along. She starts out as someone I wasn't liking too much but evolved into someone strong and who relies on God.

There were some really slow parts for me - some of the historical descriptions and facts grew tiresome and were a bit dry. I also didn't feel really invested in these characters as much as I would have liked. I think, too, I was expecting maybe a bit more about Cleopatra and not about her discarded friend.

All in all, I did enjoy this book but it wasn't something I thought much about when I sat it down. It's an interesting story but not a compelling one for me. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Bethany House


Blessings - Julie

Book Review - A Name Unknown

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets-now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary's challenge of a lifetime comes when she's assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family's history, their very name?

Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown-so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.

Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth-about Peter's past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels . . . to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. She passes said boring life with her husband and kids in the beautiful mountains of eastern West Virginia.

Find out more about Roseanna M. at http://www.roseannamwhite.com

MY REVIEW:

I found this to be an exceptional book and loved the setting and the characters! I have never read a book set at the time period before WWI in England and really enjoyed the whole experience.

We are introduced to Rosemary and her mysterious assignment in the first pages. She is clever because she has had to be to survive. After her parents die, she creates a family, of sorts, with other children like herself. They learn to steal to survive and Rosemary becomes the best at this. This leads to a big job that will change her life.

Rosemary is sent to Peter's home to find out where his loyalties lie. Is he a German sympathizer or loyal to England? I love the character of Peter because he's such a quiet soul. He's an introvert who struggles with getting to know others or to letting them into his life. He doesn't like change, either, so it interesting to see his interaction with Rosemary who is anything but an introvert.

The romance part of this book is done very nicely with the relationship between Rosemary and Peter developing over time. It was very realistically done and it made me cheer them on because I knew they should be together. There is also the wonderful way the gospel is shown in the story - again in a wonderfully realistic way.

I enjoyed this book so much! When I had to put it down, I couldn't wait to pick it up again to see what was going to happen next. It's a lovely book and I hope that there will be more to come! I give this 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by LitFuse Publicity Group


Blessings - Julie