5 Books of the Month

Books of the Month: Prodigy + Creative Books

The month is almost over and I realised that I haven't had the chance to share with you my latest reads since February. And, since I haven't done a Friday Five in a while as well, I thought I'd combine them in this post. Is that clever or just lazy? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, here are the five books to cover my March and April 2013 reads:

1. Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy is Book Two of the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu. I've been meaning to write about the Legend series since I first came across it last year.

The basic premise: Legend/Prodigy is in the YA dystopian genre. It is similar to Hunger Games, but not quite; probably closer to the concept of Divergent - another series that I've been hoping to share with you. It is set in a future America, where the United States is torn in to different areas and is at war with its neighbours. The main character, June, lives in the western US called the Republic. She is considered to be a "star" citizen, with an affluent background. She is being groomed for a high rank with the Republic. But, when her brother's death led her to face the suspected killer - Day (Republic's Most Wanted Criminal) - and she finds out some things that she did not expect, her life was turned upside down.

Prodigy takes off where Legend ended. To avoid giving you any spoilers, I will not give you a summary. But, let me just say that as far as sequels go, Ms Marie Lu did not disappoint with Prodigy. In fact, while I liked Legend a lot, I probably fell in love with the series and its characters more in Prodigy. Its cliffhanger ending will definitely make you wish for Book Three to come quickly!

Rating: 4.5/5

2. Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin

This is the book that the lovely Christina gave me as a birthday present early this month. Loved it from the start! It's a great present because it's a book that I've been eyeing for some time now. And, it's a great book that supports my growing love for printmaking.

It's a beautiful book with a number of great ideas and projects. There's even a set of templates that you can use, should you wish to use the author's designs that were featured in the book. I'm not sure if I'll be using the templates, as I enjoy making my own. But, it's nice to know that they're there, should I choose to use them for some projects.

I haven't really done any of the projects yet, but they have inspired me to pursue my own projects. So, I'm sure I'll refer to this book when I need some printmaking inspiration.

Rating: 4/5

3. How to Decorate by Shannon Fricke

Interior decorating is something that I wish I can be good at, but instead, I end up feeling quite inadequate. For someone who loves beautiful and creative things, this seems to be quite a shocker. My husband does not understand why I keep claiming to be hopeless at decorating. I don't understand it myself. My only theory is that it's one of the things that I end up feeling too overwhelmed. Decorating a house, a room... just seems too big a job. That's why I often opt for the safer choices. Or just decorate on an "as needs basis".

However, this year, I decided that I'm going to give interior decorating a bit of a better go. Nothing dramatic. Just learn some basic concepts and figure out how I can enjoy the process of making my house prettier without feeling overwhelmed.

That's why I decided to buy this book.

Admittedly, I started feeling overwhelmed again as I began flipping through the pages. Talks of setting up my own studio space for decorating, developing mood boards, and different types of fabric just make me start thinking of how huge it all seems.

I don't want to be an interior decorator. I just want to learn how to decorate my home in a practical, cost-effective way. This book sort of didn't meet that need. Not the author's fault. There are all sorts of lovely inspiration and interesting resources shared in the book. The styles shared are beautiful. The photos by Prue Roscoe are gorgeous. I'll probably look at it and refer to bits and pieces of it every now and then for ideas and inspiration.

But, unfortunately, it isn't the book that could help me to get over my decorating issues. I probably need a "Decorating for Dummies" book instead.

By the way, Amazon says this isn't available with them just yet. Should be out in August 2013.

Rating: 3/5

4. Creative Doodling and Beyond by Stephanie Corfee

I've had this book for almost a year or so now. I enjoyed reading through it and copying some of Stephanie's doodles. They are lovely and whimsical! Stephanie is obviously a very talented artist.

I also think that it's great that the book offered "practice pages" - although it took me a while to get over my reservation on doodling/drawing directly on the book. I haven't practiced all the projects and ideas yet, but I have played with a couple of the concepts shared in this book. It is fun, especially if you're feeling a bit uninspired. I enjoy having it in my personal library.

Rating: 3.5/5

5. Acrylic Solutions: Exploring Mixed Media Layer by Layer by Chris Cozen and Julie Prichard

I bought this book as an ebook from the publisher's website a couple of weeks ago and just loved it. It offered a number of useful and interesting techniques that I'm slowly incorporating in my art. There are no real "step-by-step" tutorials here. In fact, some of the projects laid out in the book can be a bit confusing (an artwork will appear in one section, then re-appear in another section). But, I can overlook some of the book's points because the positive things I gained from this book outweigh the little niggly things.

The artwork in the book is worth looking at over and over (and I have), for inspiration and ideas. They are real examples of the beauty of working in layers with mixed media. Some of them exemplify the type of pieces that I would love to be able to do.

In any case, if you're in to painting/mixed media work, then this is definitely worth having in the collection of art references.

Rating: 4/5

Note: Book titles link to Amazon's affiliate programme, where I may earn some commissions if you purchase using my links.

About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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