Monday, January 19, 2015

A Saintly Killing by Martha Ockley

Faith Morgan, vicar of Little Worth, St. James, is up to her eyeballs in preparations for her church's 900th anniversary celebration. Not the most convenient time to get sidetracked with a murder, especially when the victim was the artist commissioned to paint the church for the gala occasion.
As if that were not enough, Faith is also in the midst of some personal struggles with her mother's ailing health.

The Faith Morgan mystery series is a somewhat light hearted look at crime. As a former police woman, crime has a way of finding Faith.  So does her previous boyfriend, who usually heads up the investigation.  With the awkwardness of that failed relationship ever present, Faith has to set aside her emotions and try to navigate the delicate waters of church politics and local gossip as the killer is tracked down.

The series offers a glimpse into village and church life with all it's charm (and warts). Ockley does a good job of describing characters and daily life so that the reader feels an integral part of the action and its resolution.  The crime gets nicely tied up but some of Faith's relational issues remain a mystery--no doubt to be continued in future installments.

A Saintly Killing can be purchased directly from Kregel Publications for $14.99. You can read an excerpt first to get a taste for Ockley's writing style. Martha Ockley is actually the pen name of Rebecca Jenkins. To learn more about Ms. Jenkins, visit her website. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of A Saintly Killing from Kregel Publications for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Monday, December 29, 2014

DIY Type by Dana Tanamachi

The cover of Tanamachi's book instantly drew me in with it's whimsical, eye-catching design. The beauty of her handmade lettering stands out among the computer generated graphics that inundate our daily life.

The main thing to be aware of, is that the book is basically a set of two complete alphabet stencils (one larger, one smaller).  In a very concise way, the author packs a lot of tips and visual ideas into a very brief preface to the actual stencils.

Don't skip the intro as you'll be introduced to Ms. Tanamachi and how her business first took root. Rather than just listing supplies that may come in handy for projects, the author has a two-page spread of a full color photograph of suggested tools--all easily acquired (even in my rural area).

The next four double page spreads feature photos, a supply list and practical tips for using the stencils in a variety of ways. Areas include:

  • Desk (ideas for stationary/paper/office)
  • Parties (stenciling a great photo booth background, bunting, and even a cake)
  • Wardrobe (stenciling on fabric--clothing, totes, and more)
  • Home (gift ideas and home ideas to stencil)
Tanamachi then has a page with 8 examples of embellished letters and then 8 examples of chalk letters.  Just enough inspiration to get the reader jazzed and ready to pull out the perforated stencils.  I was very impressed with the heavy, coated cardstock used for the stencils. In addition to the two sizes of letters, there are also some embellishments at the end with lines, corners and dots.  The cover flourishes are actually cut out and could also be used as stencils as well.

The idea of creating a work of art by hand is so important in this day of electronic overload.  Nothing is quite as satisfying as creating a work of beauty without a mouse.  Let Tanamachi teach you how in this wonderful book!

DIY Type can be purchased directly from Random House for $22.95.  Read more about author Dana Tanamachi.  She also has a fascinating website where you can see her in action.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of DIY Type through Blogging for Books for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.