Abrantes, Melanie. Carve: A Simple Guide To Whittling. New York, USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2017.

Beginning with the toolbox and filled with tips and techniques, Carve shares the journey from wood to utensil. With projects rated from beginner to advanced, professional woodworker and author Melanie Abrantes includes the necessary ingredients, nicely explained directions, and personal tips for each design. Accompanied by photographs of each step as well as the finished product, maintenance and templates are also included.

As an art spanning many decades, whittling can be done most anywhere. This beautiful little book takes the ancient front- porch art and gives it a modern twist. Easy to understand yet producing impressive results, both the book and the resulting objects would make a welcomed gift. I not only liked the design of the book but the safety factor, wood choice explanations and contemporary turn. Even my husband was intrigued and packed the book in with our camping gear for next year around the campfire. Definitely a book to share!

5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Carve from Blogging For Books for my honest review*


Everyday Watercolor

Rainey, Jenna. Everyday Watercolor: Learn To Paint Watercolor In 30 Days. New York, USA: Watson-Guptill Publishing. 2017.

As a watercolor painting guide structured to teach technique, perspective, shape, form. volume, depth and light with successful results in 30 days, Everyday Watercolor helps both beginner painters as well as those more accomplished. With each lesson plan set-up in 2-3 steps of sketching, choosing a color palette and painting on paper, a finished picture is the result each day. With clear instructions, lots of guidance and encouragement/ permission to create your own style, artist and author Jenna Rainey shares her love, design, education and enjoyment in her new book meant for all.

By no means an artist of drawing, painting, or patience, this book actually took me by surprise and enabled me to paint beautiful pictures (at least, in my own eyes). Meant to be done in 30 consecutive days, the instruction works just fine on any consistent schedule. Done in a sequential manner building upon previously learned skills from the prior lessons, even I was impressed by what I was able to produce. With Jenna’s encouraging style and reminder to have fun while attempting something new, I liked her acknowledgement of her artistic gift from God which she has chosen to use and share.

4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Everyday Watercolor from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

A Fool & His Monet

Orchard, Sandra. A Fool & His Monet: A Serena Jones Mystery. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.


As a member of the FBI Art Crime Team, Agent Serena Jones has a personal interest in this particular crime- who exactly stole the Monet from the local museum? Hoping that identifying the art thief may lead to clues of her grandfather’s death, Serena Jones is unable to work alone on the case. Stuck in a bit of a romantic mess of her own, Serena must decide where her heart leads, how to placate her mom’s ideas of a wedding and grandchildren, and what to do about her well-meaning but screw-loose Aunt. With humor, coziness and fun, author Sandra Orchard begins her newest series…

With her usual sense of suspense, author Sandra Orchard shares a witty story in her new Serena Jones Mystery series. Though a bit quirky and perhaps unrealistic at times, overall it was a good read. With strong characters and endless possibilities to continue, A Fool & His Monet kept my interest as I quickly finished it. Though maybe a bit confusing due to the many characters involved, the mystery was entertaining, lively and amusing. Especially liking some of the play on words, the title and cover were perfect!

4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Fool & His Monet from Revell Publishing for my honest review*