Saturday, November 22, 2014

Urban Watercolor Sketching Book Review and Giveaway

Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger 
Every once in a while I come across a book where I literally internalize every single word I read, to the point that I can't put the book down. Usually, these types of books are fictional books, with amazing characters and plots. However, this time around the book that made me want to stay up into the wee hours reading underneath the light of flashlight was, Urban Watercolor Sketching, by Felix Scheinberger. Now, don't let the title fool you. This book is not just about "Urban Watercolor Sketching" I would say it is more about the ins and outs of watercolors with amazing tutorials and beautiful illustrations. 

Book Summary:
On the cover of the Urban Watercolor Sketching it says, "A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color". This book was originally published in hardcover in German in 2011. Felix Scheinberger is an illustrator, artist, and designer. I love his simple approach to watercolors. In Urban Watercolor Sketching Scheinberger states that his book has two goals: "to teach you watercolor techniques and to tell you something about color." 

Watercolors are my personal favorite paint medium (see here). I have loved them from the time that I was a little girl. So when I was given the opportunity to review this book through the Blogging for Books Program, I couldn't have been happier. 

Urban Watercolor Sketching is broken up into 7 sections:

  • ·         Intro
  • ·         First Attempts
  • ·         Excursion in Color Theory
  • ·         Your Own Style
  • ·         Basics/Tools
  • ·         Out and About
  • ·         Tips and Tricks

I can honestly say that I learned something new from every section in the book. I decided while reading Urban Watercolor Sketching that I would highlight the parts that I thought would be helpful in my own personal journey with watercoloring. In the end, I think I highlighted about every word in the book.  I have actually been reading this book for a while, but that is just because I have read every word, on every page, and took notes on techniques, tips, and ideas I want to apply to my own art work. 

My Review:
I truly loved reading Urban Watercolor Sketching (as you can see from what I wrote on the last page of the book). I think that Scheinberger is very knowledgeable when it comes to watercolors and color theory. I enjoyed how Scheinberger had a section that focused on each color. The facts that I learned about how colors were introduced and first used were fascinating. When talking about the color of orange Scheinberger notes "For a long time, orange was not considered a color on its own but rather reddish-yellow, and was categorized with one of these two colors depending on it saturation. Orange did not debut as an individual color until modern times, when it was used extensively in the works of Vincent van Gogh and Edvard Munch." Throughout the book Scheinberger has practical and fun watercolor tips that are helpful for both the beginning artist and the veteran artist. 

If you have ever wanted to learn more about watercolors, this is the book for you. If anything, the vibrant, brilliant illustrations alone would be a great reason to buy this book. 

Want to find out more about Felix Scheinberger? You can CLICK HERE to go to his website. You can translate his website from German to English if you would like.

Giveaway Details:
Now for the exciting news. The wonderful WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, through the Blogging for Books Program, has sent me an extra copy of Urban Watercolor Sketching to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. Yahoo! You don't want to miss out on winning a copy of this creative book, no matter what your artistic skill level may be. 

Don't want to wait to see if you win this amazing book? You can purchase your own copy of Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger HERE to be taken to Amazon or CLICK HERE to shop at Barnes and Noble. 

Now, let's get on with the giveaway. This Urban Watercolor Sketching Giveaway ends on Mon., Dec. 1, 2014. This giveaway is open to United States Residence only. One winner will be chosen at random and will be notified by e-mail and on this blog on Tues. Dec. 2. Winner will then need to provide me with your local mailing address within two days of being notified as the winner, or a new winner will be chosen. Winner must be 18 yrs. or older. 

How to enter the Giveaway:
Mandatory Entry -To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this blog post and tell me something that makes you happy.
Extra Entries - Follow me on Pinterest, through Google Friend Connect, Instagram, or Twitter and leave me a separate comment for each social media you are following me on,  letting me know what name you are following under.

Good luck my friends!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. The opinions expressed in my review are unbiased and reflect my honest judgment and opinion of the book. 

This "Urban Watercolor Sketching Book Review and Giveaway" first appeared on my blog, Artistically Shauna, on November 22, 2014. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin Book Review

Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin Book Review
Book Summary:
Kate Darby works for a distinguished advertising company in California and seems to have it all; the career, the beauty, a loving grandmother, etc. Yet, deep inside Kate is longing for more. 

While driving on the San Miguel Highway, which according to the state of California was only the twenty-sixth most dangerous road in the state, Kate swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor. Kate was on her way to take care of her grandmother who had recently suffered a stroke. Kate then becomes trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Petrified, Kate offers a prayer that changes her life. 

Nick, a handsome and confident writer, is the person who comes to Kate's rescue. Nick just happens to live in the same small town that Kate's grandmother lives.  When Nick sees Kate's car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action and saves Kate. Nick doesn't realize that from that one act of bravery, he is going to swept off his feet by Kate.

Nick, a man who previously lived in the fast lines, is a recent convert to Christianity. Nick has vowed to not date for a year, yet now that he has met Kate Darby, that vow may prove to be difficult.
Kate Darby has no plans to get involved with one of the locals in her grandmother's small town. Yet, something about Nick draws her to him. 

My Review:
Until I Found You,  by Victoria Bylin, is a sweet romance filled with faith promoting messages.  I really enjoyed a lot of the characters in the book, although my favorite character was definitely Nick. Nick is a honest, good, and kind man, who has a life changing moment. Not that Nick was a bad person before by any degree, he wasn't, he simply decided to prioritize his life, and let God become a part of it. I appreciated the courage this character had and his dedication to living a life full of goodness.  Even though Nick is a fictional character, he reminded me of different men in my life, like my father, and husband, who are kind, service oriented men, who strive to be Christlike. You can't have enough men, or women in the world like that in my opinion.

There were several quotes that I really enjoyed reading in Until I Found You.Victoria Bylin has a strong voice in her writing that really makes you ponder and think about your own life. I appreciate when an author can do that.   It was hard to narrow down which ones to share with my blog readers. So, here are a few of my favorites:
  • While observing California Condors with Kate and Marcus, Nick starts to take pictures of the cave that the condor's called their home. Nick ponders that "Tin Canyon was a simple place. It was home to an ancient species with simple needs. To eat. To breed. To survive." The part I love is when Nick then thinks, "Human beings had the same needs, but they also had an intelligence that set them apart from the bests of the field. Condors acted on instinct and the drive for self- preservation. Men had the capacity to make moral choices that sometimes called for sacrifice (pg. 106)." It is true. Sometimes in life we are faced with difficult moral decisions, that do call for sacrifice. Although, in the end our lives are eternally blessed for making virtuous choices that will not only bless our lives, but bless the lives of others.
  •  In one part of the book Kate is struggling with being strong. She is terrified of a world that doesn't make sense to her. "She wanted to live the way Nick did- with the courage to face life head-on, unswayed by impulse or fear. She wanted his faith in a power greater than herself, a loving father who would take care of her." "God," she whispered. "Are you real? (pg.178)" I don't know about you, but sometimes life can be so difficult. Trials come into our lives that we don't understand, or are devastating to us or loved ones around us. That is where hope, faith, and trust in God come into place. I honestly don't know how I would have been able to have gotten through life to this point, without the knowledge that I have a God and Savior who watches over me and loves me unconditionally.
Like I mentioned earlier, overall Until I Found You, had a sweet story line. The only thing that I wished while reading this book was that it went at a little faster pace. I enjoyed reading the story and I wanted to see how it ended, however, it wasn't the type of book that I couldn't put down and wanted to read through the wee hours of the night. I felt the storyline just moved a little on the slow side. 

To purchase your own copy of Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin you can CLICK BELOW to be taken to Amazon. 
Want to find out more about Victoria Bylin's books? You can CLICK HERE to go to her Twitter page, CLICK HERE to see her on Facebook, and CLICK HERE to go to her website.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the Baker Publishing Group Bethany House Blogger Program for this review. The opinions expressed in my review are unbiased and reflect my honest judgment and opinion of the book. 

"Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin's Book Review" first appeared on my blog, Artistically Shauna, on Sept. 25, 2014. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Twirl by Patsy Clairmont Book Review

Twirl  by Patsy Clairmont Review

I love it when I finish reading a book and it is full of notes and underlined parts. At that point I know I have had a connection with a book and that it is a book that has impacted my life.

Twirl by Patsy Clairmont is a wonderful book full of humor, inspiration, and motivation. Who wouldn't love to read a book like that? I have to admit, up until now I haven't read any books by Patsy Clairmont. However, I am now a huge fan and I can't wait to get a hold of another one of her books. 

Twirl is full of short easy to read chapters where "Patsy's hope is to help her readers maintain a dynamic view on life with activities and choices that lead to renewal and peace." While reading Twirl I found myself laughing one minute and then in deep thought the next minute. One of my favorite parts of the book is at the end of each chapter Patsy asks several questions for you to ponder. At the end of the "Read" chapter  Patsy ends with a quote that I just love. The quote says, "I like a book that invites me in, treats me with respect, and one I can exit with my integrity still intact". Don't you love Patsy's voice as a writer? Patsy then concludes the "Read" chapter by asking questions like:

1.       Why do you read?

2.       What authors peak your language?

Some of the other chapter titles are: Bloom, Rest, Laugh, Pen, Brave, Sparrow, Be, Story, etc. There are 26 chapters/topics that Patsy discusses in Twirl.

I can't express enough how much I enjoyed reading this book. Twirl is a book that I will go back and revisit often. I feel it Patsy's words helped me learn new things about myself as well as taught me how to pay better attention to what my mind, body, and spirit needs. So, thank you Patsy for that.

I wanted to share with you a few more quotes that I loved from the book Twirl. I have also included the page number so that you can find the quote easily once you run down and purchase your own copy of this outstanding book. It was extremely hard to narrow down which ones to share, because like I mentioned earlier, my whole book is practically underlined with quotes I loved.

"Kindness never loses its charm." ~ pg. 46 

"Oh that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away." pg. 43

"Let's make good choices, pace ourselves, listen to our bodies, establish healthy boundaries, and soak up a fresh outlook." pg. 113

You can find Twirl here at Barnes and Noble and here at Patsy's website. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program ( I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

This "Twirl by Patsy Clairmont Book Review" first appeared on my blog, Learn and Grow Designs, on August 19, 2014. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer Book Review

Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer Book Review

Book Summary:
Caroline Lang is an undercover investigator whose most recent assignment is to go undercover as a factory worker at Dinsmore's World-Famous Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas. A suspicious accident has occurred at the factory and Caroline wants to figure out what really happened. While Caroline is undercover as a factory worker she is also compelled to help children be free of heavy adult responsibilities and have the opportunity to pursue their own educations. This stems from Caroline's fervent faith, difficult childhood, and compassion to make a difference. 

The heir to Dinsomore's World-Famous Chocolate Factory, Oliver Dinsmore, has his own investigation to conduct. Oliver poses as a common factory worker known as "Ollie Moore", to find out all he can about his family business before he takes it over from his father. 

Caroline and Oliver become fast friends until they realize they have different opinions about the role of children working in the factory. When three children are in desperate need of help, Caroline and Oliver find it very difficult to continue to keep their identities hidden. They feel as though fate may have brought them together, until all is revealed. 

My Review:

I was really looking forward to receiving a copy of Echoes of Mercy, by Kim Vogel Sawyer in the mail. The story sounded intriguing and I love the time period in which the story takes place.
Echoes of Mercy did not disappoint. I really loved the characters in the story. Each character was so believable and as I read the book it was if I was watching the characters unfold on the big screen in a movie theater. I was such a big fan of Caroline and Oliver throughout the story, and not once did they disappoint. 

The parts of the book that talked about child labor really pulled at my heartstrings. I love teaching and working with children. I know how important and education can be. My heart went out to all of the young children who spent their days working hard labor for literally pennies,  at such a young tender age, missing out on learning how to read and write, and the joys of childhood. 

A part that I loved from the book is when Oliver asks a minister a few questions because he feels inadequate to be praying to God. In regards to communicating with God, the minister said, "The more we talk to Him, the closer our relationship with Him grows, just as with any earthly relationship. So don't worry so much about how you speak to Him, son. Just talk to Him (Echoes of Mercy, pg.133)." What a beautiful reminder. God loves us all no matter our circumstances and he wants to hear from us. 

I love that this book has a mystery, a sweet romance, it can tug at your heart strings, make you gasp, smile, and leaves you feeling happy. It has all of the story elements that I enjoy. Echoes of Mercy is a nice easy read, and the perfect book to lose yourself in on a warm summer's day. 

To purchase your own copy of Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer you can CLICK HERE to be taken to Amazon, CLICK HERE to be taken to Barnes and Noble, or CLICK HERE to shop at Water Brook Multnomah. 

Want to find out more about Kim Vogel Sawyer's books? You can CLICK HERE to go to her Twitter page, CLICK HERE to see her on Facebook, and CLICK HERE to go to her website.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. The opinions expressed in my review are unbiased and reflect my honest judgment and opinion of the book. 

This "Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer's Book Review" first appeared on my blog, Artistically Shauna, on June 21, 2014.