Category Archives: Book Reviews

Ann Charles: Jackrabbit Junction Mystery Series announces Book #4!

My favorite author just released book 4 in the Jackrabbit Junction Mystery series. I have already downloaded it and can’t wait to read it.

Quote from book:

“What’s up with you this morning? You’ve been acting all skittish and freaky-eyed since you came out of the library.”

“Something feels weird here today.”

“Have you considered that maybe you’re the one feeling weird today?”

“Listen, dear sister of mine, you’re supposed to be helping me keep an eye out for thugs and instead you’re spending all of your time pointing out my faults.”

“As your loving sister,” Claire started.

“Loving?” Ronnie let out a bark of laughter.

Claire continued, speaking louder over Ronnie’s sarcastic laughs, “It’s my job to be honest with you. So here’s a hard truth you need to swallow: You have not only moved into paranoia-ville, you’re running for mayor now.”

“It takes a paranoid nut to know one.”

~Ronnie and Claire

~Jackrabbit Junction Mystery Series announces Book #4! The Rowdy Coyote Rumble #annwcharles #JackrabbitJunctionMysterySeries #TheRowdyCoyoteRumble


Book Review: Blender Cycles: Materials and Textures Cookbook – Third Edition

blender cycles coverBlender Cycles: Materials and Textures Cookbook – Third Edition, by Enrico Valenza is an updated version of Enrico’s first book of the same title. A book which I read with great enjoyment when it came out.

What can you expect in an updated edition that can’t be found in the first. Well at first glance, it all looks pretty much the same. Enrico walks you through over 40 material recipes created in the Cycles rendering engine. The same great teaching style and explanations are still there, the materials still look great and it is still filled with great tips and information.

Generally changes in an updated edition have to do with changes in the software, and that is the case here as well. Although it did seem to me as if the materials looked better and more polished. I didn’t check the recipes step by step with the first edition to be sure the settings were all the same. So it could be either minor tweaks to the materials by Enrico or improvements to the Cycles rendering engine itself. Either way the materials looked good and provide a valuable resource for material exploration.

The only major change I noticed is that the snake skin material from the first edition was replaced with a “disgusting organic material” and that is Enrico’s description of the material, not mine 😛 But I do agree, that particular material is pretty gross looking.

So, to sum it up. If you missed out on getting the first edition, I encourage you to grab this edition. It is filled with great materials, excellent explanations and is a valuable resource that will help you in your own material explorations.

Available at:

Packt Publishing

Blender Cycles: Materials and Textures Cookbook – Third Edition


Blender Cycles: Materials and Textures Cookbook – Third Edition

Book Review: Blender 3D Basics Beginner’s Guide Second Edition

I recently received a e-copy of Blender 3D Basics Beginner’s Guide Second Editionfrom Packt Publishing by Gordon Fisher. Okay not so recently, it has been about a month or so. 😛 Holiday madness caught up with me and delayed my review.

Anyhow, on to the book. This is the second edition of his book, so much of the content is the same as is to be expected with updates where appropriate. The original was a great a book and the second edition is as well.

This book is definitely geared for a beginner, that is not to say that more advanced users won’t learn a thing or two as well, but it is aimed at getting a new user up to speed in Blender through a series of simple exercises and projects broken down into easy to accomplish steps.

To start the author gives a brief introduction to the history of 3d and animation and goes into getting familiar with Blender itself. Then takes the reader through a series of short exercises to provide a framework for understanding how Blender works.

After getting familiar with Blender, the reader gets to the fun stuff. In this case modeling and animating not one, but two different boats. The second boat, a sloop, is then put into an ocean scene and animated. Throughout the sections on the boats, the author introduces basic modeling and animation techniques that provide a good foundation for future exploration of Blender.

The Cycles engine is covered as well as the Video Sequence Editor. Throughout the book, the author provides links to useful resources that give the reader further information and/or resources to either complete the lessons or provide better understanding of a concept. In the provided data pack download there are bonus chapters with more in depth coverage of a few more useful topics.

In addition to links to added resources, the author provides blend files for ever major step in the exercises so the reader can poke and prod to their heart’s content.

Overall I enjoyed Blender 3D Basics Beginner’s Guide Second Edition. The second edition is as well written as the first edition and a useful place for the beginner Blender user to learn how to use blender and get the basics required to explore further on their own.

Book Details

  • File Size: 32423 KB
  • Print Length: 526 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (August 26, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00N2RWO34

I will be reviewing Blender 3D Basics Beginner’s Guide Second Edition

Packt Pubishing has asked me to read and review Blender 3D Basics Beginner’s Guide Second Edition. I have downloaded the ebook and loaded in onto my trusty Kindle for immediate reading. Expect the review to appear here in the next week or so.

In the meantime here is a link to the book for you to check out on your own. 😛

Book Review: Unity 4 Game Development HOTSHOT by Jate Wittayabundit

book coverAt least a basic knowledge of Unity is desired before diving into this book, as the author doesn’t get into great detail or explanations about basic things like the Unity interface or menus. A general knowledge of scripting (C# and JavaScript) is helpful as well, although if you are scripting challenged like me, you can always just type what is said, like I did. I pretty much took it on faith that the code was correct.

On the subject of scripting, this book is not for the faint of heart. While there are some things that are done in Unity, most of the projects and chapters dealt with working in MonoDevelop and then using the script produced in Unity. So if you are uncomfortable with scripting, you might want to choose another book. If you enjoy scripting and are looking for some specialized scripts and or projects to practice on, this book should be not only informative but a bit of fun as well.

The projects were interesting and something I could see using often in various game setups. The explanations seemed fairly clear and outside links were provided to further explore various areas more fully.

  • Print Length: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (July 25, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00M6N1A3U

It can be found at the following links:

Unity 4 Game Development Hotshot‘.