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Reviews Written by
Nicola Williams (Oxford, England)
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5.0 out of 5 stars
Simply the best!, 11 Nov 2013
I recently went into Oxford University main book shop, and chatted to an amazing member of staff.
I asked her for any A level general biology books, with excellent layouts, very clear to read, easily digestible, clear diagrams and without tiny writing all squashed in together.
She kindly brought me a very large selection which took me 2 hours to sift through!
This book was her number 1. choice out of the whole library section to buy from, and I certainly agreed with her.
When you are choosing an important book you are planning on spending many many hours studying with, its so important to find a book which you will enjoy using due to its amazing presentation from start to finish, even the out side edge is colour coded, so you can instantly find the section you are working for. Its all the added extras which they didn't have to do, non of the other books did this, but it adds to its user friendly approach.
This whole book is USER FRIENDLY, in every respect and more.
If you can make complex information look and read as though its easy to learn, then learning becomes far more achievable, productive and hopefully successful.
The contents page is very easy to read, and colour coded with the pages of that subject and the external pages of the book.
The subject headings are very clear and enlarged, important words or information are also in larger print than the rest of the text. Different easy to read fonts are used, which relaxes the eyes, and helps you to focus on the different information, ie, information of microscopic pictures, information regarding diagrams. It also has sections within the chapters, displayed in very clear font, called "REMEMBER THIS" with a big tick in front of it, highlighting information you need to take away with that page. Different coloured back grounds in gently shaded colour also helps you to take in the information and remember the diagrams too. Its all these little elements which make this book so different. Nothing is over complicated in any way.
I read books and I use a kindle, and I must say, this book is far far better as a book than using it in kindle format. I have many technical books on kindle, and I cannot imagine this book being so effective in Kindle format. I like the fact that the information is spread out and not crunched together. I personally feel this book would loose all its amazing qualities being read on a small screen. If I did have it on kindle/tablet form, I would like the book to use at home to study from.
This book has 684 pages, and is a heavy book to carry about.
Section 1. The cell: basic unit of life
what is a cell
tissue and organs
the chemicals of life
movement in and out of cells
enzymes and metabolism
Section 2. Energetics
energy and life
Section 3. Supply and demand
animal circulatory systems
Section 4. Getting the right balance
excretion and water balance
health and disease
defence against disease
Section 5. Control systems
nerves and impulses
support and movement
senses and behaviour
Section 6. Reproduction and genetics
genetics: the basics
DNA, genes and chromosomes
how genes are inherited
Section 7. All about plants
how plants work
how plants grow and respond
reproduction in flowering plants
Section 8. The environment
the biology of ecosystems
energy transfer and mineral cycling in ecosystems
human activity and the environment
answers to questions
I hope this review will help you choose a book suitable for you, and that you find the right book to make learning an enjoyable experience.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A total must have for all students studying general biology no matter if its GCSE or higher, for young and mature students!, 11 Nov 2013
I am a mature student, going back into studying general biology.
A independent book seller highly recommended this book as its so user friendly.
This book is not just an illustrated dictionary of biology, but a whole body of learning, in a beautifully laid out manor. The most important parts of the information is enlarged from the general text, which helps learn the key points more effectively.
The lay out is first class, with elements split up, to prevent all the information becoming jumbled together, again making learning fun, and achievable. Its refreshing to have important information laid out in coloured boxes too, to help all students who may learn differently methods pick up the information in an achievable way. There are spaces between subsection and diagrams which makes reading easy on the eye, and takes the pressure off 'information overload', specially for dyslexic students. The diagrams are precise and to the point, without being overly complicated.
This is excellent to read in chunk size pieces, and digest much easier than all the other comprehensive books I was shown. This book would also make a first class revision aid too, so you are getting so much more from this amazing book!
This book is 128p long.
Section 1: Ecology and living things
living things and their environment
within an ecosystem
life and life cycles
the structure of living things
Section 2. Botany
stems and roots
inside an older plant
plant fluid transportation
reproduction in a flowering plant
seeds and germination
Section 3. Zoology (animals)
the body structure of animals
animal body coverings
animal senses and communication
animal reproduction and development
Section 4. Zoology (humans)
joints and bone
the circulatory system
tissue fluid and the lymphatic system
the digestive system
the urinary system
the central nervous system
the units of the nervous system
nerves and nervous pathways
the reproductive system
development and reproduction
Section 5. Reproduction and genetics
types of reproduction
cell division for reproduction
genetics and heredity
genetics and engineering
Section 6. General biology information
food and how it is used
energy for life and homeostasis
digestive juices and enzymes
vitamins and their uses
the classification of living things
informal group terms
I hope this review has helped you in knowing the level this book is aimed at, and helping you to know its content in detail to help structure your learning more effectively.
I hope you will enjoy this amazing book as much as I have, while I'm taking on A level biology as a mature student. Its a brilliant revision book to bring me back up to speed.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A total gem, 11 Nov 2013
I was recommended this book by an amazing lady, who put this book in my hand and said "read this, this will help your studying beyond measure" and she was right.
I have gone back into studying as I want to learn rather than having it enforced at school. Its a long time since I've studied, and I feel rather rusty. This book cuts down all my concerns, as it starts with the basics and works up. The other brilliant aspect of this book, is its a small pocket size book, which you can digest in small chunks, and every little bit is amazing! When I opened part 1 and read "Being dyslexic does not mean you are not as bright as other people-just that you learn differently. You can be clever and dyslexic; dyslexia does not determine your intelligence." Wow, to read that made me feel amazing!
I really felt that this author understood what she was talking about. I have learnt so much from this book, and want to put this book into the hands of others, specially those heading into further education at any level.
Even though this book is 139 pages long, its manageable by taking section by section and digesting it, and referring back to particular sections.
Part 1 covers:
Its OK to do things differently
Working with your dyslexia
Part 2: Study skills at University
Dealing with information
Revision and memory
Dealing with seminars, group work and presentations
Part 3: Support for dyslexic students at university
The last piece of advice this wonderful lady told me was "Keep this book in your bag or coat pocket, when you are out and about, traveling, having a coffee, pick it up and read a piece of this. This will keep the book feeling 'fresh' and inspiring."
I really hope this mini book will open many doors for so many. You can learn anything, its just knowing different ways of learning to suit you, which fits us as individuals. Once you master that, you can sail though learning without the anxieties, you don't have to spending 10 times longer studying than non dyslexic students, and retain important information more effectively. This small digestible book I hope will be your key.
I really hope in some small way this review will open doors for you, and make learning much easier, more successful and will help you to achieve your goals. Very best of luck :)
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
Incredibly disappointing!!!!, 3 Sep 2013
I have a lot of books on Zentangles I love books of art and design, but I totally regret buying this book without viewing it first.
In a Zentangle book, I am looking for interesting creative designs which are inspiring, and give step buy step instructions to enable me to explore and experiment with designs and I like Zentangle work books for this reason, but this is not what you are truly getting!!!
This book is 127 pages of next to nothing.
You only get 5 designs in this whole book which is step by step!!!!
The complex ones which give you dimensional work are there just for show including the medallion shape ones, no help or instructions.
What you do get is pages of pages upon pages and more pages of empty small squares, plus several empty circles. The squares are just under 2.5", the circles aprox 2 1/4" in diameter. The complex designs are drawn on larger tiles same with the medallions, most of the tutorial designs are drawn on the smaller.
I counted aprox 403 empty tiles including a few empty medallions, who needs OVER 400 empty tiles in a book, oh and if that's not enough, the last 3 pages exclusively pictures of more empty tiles!!!???
This book advises you practice your whole 5 tutorial designs in a sketch book, so there really is no need for over 400 empty tiles. Maybe 1 page of squares and another circular which you could photo copy would be great but not over 400 that's totally ridiculous as the rest of the book really is not a tutorial book!!!!
The complex designs were not inspiring and there were no tutorials to help you learn and create them.
There are much better cheaper Zentangle books on the market. I'm going to donate mine to my local library as its not worth the limited space on my book shelves.
Very very disappointed!!!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
The best pain management/best CBT book I have found todate, 22 Mar 2013
I have suffered long term chronic pain for about 15 yrs.
I have attended a pain unit since 2001, attended courses there, plus "The Expert Patient Programme" through the NHS.
I have attended relaxation programs through Mind.
My medical conditions have changed and become a lot worse.
I have heard amazing testimonies about CBT, when your pain gets so out of control, you will do ANYTHING constructive to feel better.
Due to health issues, I cannot yet manage a full CBT programme, and I have been searching and reading different CBT books. I will confess, I have not completed this book yet, but I am so impressed so far, I wanted to write some feedback in the hope it will help others.
Do be aware this is a work book designed for a clinical session, so it will not read like a basic CBT book. I bought this for my kindle, all work sheets are downloadable via the internet if you wish to use them.
What impressed me more with this book than any book on pain or talking to professionals to date, it gives time to explain the reasons what is happening and why! Fantastic! The teaching methods start you from the beginning. The work plan gives you options to try different methods of physical relaxation, which I have not been given before. It's down to earth, understandable and I am so pleased I am able to manage this at home on my own and get beneficial help at home the same almost as attending a group.
I appreciate everyone's pain is individual, but this book so far has exceeded my hopes and expectations. I am hoping lots of positive things for the future.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Thank you for this brilliant little gem of a book, 22 Mar 2013
This book is brilliant, straight forward, and I have learnt more from this book than all the others on stress management.
This book can be applied no matter what your personal situation, in the world of 'mental health', no matter how big or small the issue. This is the only book to make a lot of common sense, and talks you right through the process, enabling me to switch off my brain which is going into overdrive at 2am night after night.
If you have a kindle with this book, then it's the biggest plus. I have my kindle put onto text to voice speech and have this read out to me in the middle of the night. It's helped improve my ability to relax and sleep which is a gift. I am going to keep practicing these methods and apply them. Thank you
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
Sadly disappointed, 4 Mar 2013
I have been fascinated by this topic all my life, as I continue to experience such a wide range of amazing people in their own way enter my life. Their lives and experiences affect your life at different levels, one which I hope to learn understanding, trust, hope, happiness and to grow more without making too many mistakes. Why do these individuals come into our lives and affect us so profoundly? I appreciate life is a learning exercise and far far more besides, but certain individuals make life incredible. They may be with us 5mins maybe a lifetime if we are very lucky.
I was hoping to get a glimpse into this but this book to me did not cover this. It was story proverbs. A very short book which I will 're read to try and look at these stories again in more detail in case I missed something?
If you down load the try me section on kindle, this gives you exactly what this book is like. I hoped the book would expand further, but sadly not for me.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brilliant little quilting book, 30 Nov 2012
I really loved this book. It contains 47 pages full of modern fun quilting designs packed full of colour!! There are 12 well laid out easy to follow patterns.
I agree with the other lady's review, that its fun and inspiring, and dying to get going on the designs.
Even though the title says quilts for kids, this book under sells its self, as it can easily be a quilt for anyone!!!
Many of the fabrics used are child themed, but if other fabrics were used, all these projects can fit any age group as a lap quilt, single bed quilt and there is a fabulous heart wall hanging in here too.
This is for all abilities which is brilliant. Some of the quilts could possibly be made in a weekend??? (Depending on how much time you have??)
It's so fabulous to come across a fun, funky, well designed book without complicated designs!!!
There are details on page 2 about making charity quilts for children. Over in the UK, the main quilt charity is called the Linus Project. Many quilt shops and quilting organisations have details of places where you can drop off finished quilts for UK children in crisis. (Or google Linus project). The book suggests using left over fabrics to make charity quilts for children (of all ages) which is a great idea. These projects could be easy done using left over fabrics.
This little book is a breath of fresh air, enjoy :)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
A lovely book to add to your quilting arts collection, 26 Nov 2012
This is a stunning little book, packed with 144 pages brimming with colour and excitement which has been created by 26 amazing designers!!! If you are a textile student (or just interested in finding out more about the designers) there is a section in the back were the artists have given details about themselves. Some artists have included their details where you can buy some of their work via their Etsy sites, plus their blog details and Internet details, which is brilliant touch to this book.
Before I begin, this is not a book for a beginners to get stuck into, that's not to say its a beautiful gift for them to enjoy and inspire to.
The presentation of this book is first class, and bang up to the minute with modern stylish art quilting using an endless array of ideas, skills and talent, put together in a bright stylish book any keen quilter/ quilting art enthusiast would be delighted to own.
The size of these quilting project, can be something you can decoratively hang on your wall, up to lap quilt size, depending on the individual project.
This book contains :-
Mini quilt basics section
Basic quilting methods (under techniques)
Clipping corners and curves
Attaching a boarder
Quick turning a quilt
Hanging a quilt
These details only cover the scant basics, with few pictures of any technical help. Most pictures are for decoration use only. You need prior skills in all areas as the details are so minimal (which disappointed me for those wishing to spread their wings and venture into art quilts. If the publishers had added more detail for those who require additional help, then this book would have been better!!!)
There are 31 eclectic array of stunning projects for any modern quilter to get excited over!!!
The layout for each project has been beautifully done. There are very very few explanatory pictures in the entire book, which is a big let down for a book of this caliber!!! You need to be very confident to be able to fully understand written instructions!!!! I have never come across a textile art/quilting book lacking in instructional pictures like this one!!! I personally would have been happier to have paid a few extra pounds and got a brilliant book with the 'full deal' of instructional pictures too. As anyone who has experience trying to work solely on written instructions while trying to assemble anything will tell you how difficult it is without additional pictures to help out on the more trickier parts!!! Why would a sewing book be any different??? This book has seriously short changed its self due to this issue!!!! This is also another reason why this book is not in my view suitable for beginners!!!
The other issue which rattles me greatly, is there are only six sets of template patterns for the 31 projects which is CRAZY!!!
I do know a lot of textile artists do not like their work copied, and appreciate that. By having their work published in a craft book with instructions, the artists would have been paid for their contribution, the very least they could do, is supply the art work to help the crafter create the item of their choice!!! Without this, the crafter needs to be able to be good at recreating the design free hand, which adds to the complicated nature further!!! For example, the beautiful bird on the front cover of this book called "The elusive batiki bird" is very well named, as there is no template for this beautiful bird!!! WHY NOT??? Good money has been paid for this beautiful book, and it lets itself down so so badly by not supply the basic templates to do the basic projects!!! To me, this is the basic fundamental requirement for a project based book to supply the reader, full details and accompanied art work, to enable the crafter to do the project successfully. If you want this as a coffee table book, and have no plans to want to learn and explore making new and exciting projects, then fine, but to me leaving out the templates to do the main feature of the project is inexcusable!!! Due to this issue and the missing 'how to' pictures has let this book down big time!!!
I have qualifications in textiles, design and embroidery. I have been stitching over 40 years.
I have my city and guild in stitched textiles and gold work embroidery.
I have made many art quilts and can improvise.
I think it's so important when buying a book for yourself or someone else as a gift over the Internet which you cannot see in advanced before you buy, you have a good idea of what you are buying.
This book is beautiful to look at, but it is let down by the issues I have mentioned which to me are really important, basic fundamental issues. It's such a great shame, as its a stunning book, which I would have loved to have given 5 stars for. Please Lark Book Publications, if you do a reprint of this book, and do more books of this type, PLEASE address these very important issues!!!!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
Packed full of colour, 24 Nov 2012
This is a fabulous short book containing 8 projects (55 pages) published by C&T publishers who are excellent US publishers, producing excellent craft books.
The first thing I must say, this book is NOT for beginners!!! As soon as you look at the patterns you are bombarded with reams of fiddly measurements which I found rang alarm bells in my head straight off, specially as the other first reviewer confidently said it was for beginners and experienced quilters!!!
The diagrams are clearly laid out, but look complicated before you start looking at the measurements.
Project 1. Freckles
Beautiful project, light background with colourful circles on top.
The first thing I noticed is the picture doesn't match the pattern layout!!!! I am sure the finished item matches the final size, but to me this re enforces the fact, this is NOT FOR BEGINNERS!!! Personally, I think the author should have provided 2 patterns, one, to show what has been made in the photograph, and the second, the alternative pattern shown in the book!!!!
Project 2. Plumb
Fabulous quilt, easier to get your head around this one plus it helps that the picture relates more to the pattern, plus she shows it in two colour ways which is excellent. The diagram is bigger, and you are not bombarded with measurements on this project. This project I am more likely to enjoy having a go with, plus it's a great way to use if you have been given a jelly roll for Christmas or birthday and you are not sure what to do with it??
Project 3, Beeline
Again, the photo of the project does not match the pattern given, luckily, this is an easy project to manage, specially if you have a jelly roll to use. This is just lines of strips of fabric. There is a second pattern with this project for those not using scraps and have long enough strips of fabric in your fabric stash to use, which is a good touch to this project.
Project 4. Slices
This is where it gets complicated!! You need to be very confident with a rotary cutter and ruler, plus you are not cutting neat thin fabric, you are cutting through double seams and a lot of them, and it says to fold the fabric in half and cut, so you will be cutting through 4 lumpy seams. (Not great if you have dexterity problems, or confident issues cutting lumpy uneven fabric) What rings alarm bells in my head head is the word "discard" as in discard left over fabric, which appears to be aprox 50% on part 3, and aprox 40% in section 4 !!!!! (This is the pattern on the front cover!!)
There is a second pattern here for those not using scraps and whole pieces, better for those who have dexterity problems, not lumpy fabric issues, plus the pattern appears less complex.
Project 5. Volume
This project looks straightforward, and is a basic looking Bargello design from the coloured pattern. Again, the pattern doesn't match the pattern design.
What niggles me, is when the instructions say "find (or cut) scraps of various lengths approximately 3" wide. Sew these pieces into units slightly larger than the dimensions listed in step 3. It shows 2 diagrams with the minimum sizes being 6.5 " x 2.5" and the second being 3.5" x 2.5", but it says 3", min of 1/2 " + per strip, the amount of total wastage (20 strips wide x 30 strips aprox. = a lot of chucked out fabric advised by the author!!!)
Ok, you can decide to change that amount recalculating a better sizing amount to use, BUT if you have paid for a book, in my eyes, you should not have to sit there and re evaluate sizes!!!!!
Again there is a pattern for jelly rolls/scrapless project.
Project 6. Hover
This looks a fab easy pattern, you turn the page to be bombarded with cutting measurements varying from 1.5" x 1.5" up to 4.5" x 12.5". In total there are 23 different size blocks to cut into aprox 214 pieces (my eyes became 'bogeyed' trying to keep up with calculating these measurements before even attempting to cut out all these pieces with a rotary cutter and ruler!!!! I would be there cutting what would feel like forever, before putting in a single stitch!!! And the previous lady still claims its excellent for beginners???? Not for the light hearted wanting an easy project!!!) Putting the project together is like a log cabin patchwork style, which is nice. There are 4 different size blocks, which you use to make a total of 16 blocks. The description of which colour with which measurement for each segment of each block with additional letters after the names of each colour which refers to something different doesn't make this pattern user friendly!!!! Again I love the design, I would end up saying "ok love this, lets see how to remake this idea into a useable simpler method!!! Again, why should I feel that I have to do this, for a design which looks simplistic from the photograph and turns out to be 'the cripton factor'????
There is a design for those not using scraps, but it appears to be the same calculations, equally daunting with first and second cuts of the same fabric!!!
Project 7. Whirl
This project is stitching on the curve, which is only easy when you have mastered the skill, you have 16 blocks x 16 block = 256 individual curved blocks to sew!!!! (All set at different angles to give it a funky look) If sewing curves is not your forte, I would serious think twice with this project!!! Again the quantity of potential waisted fabric shown for this pattern in the diagram rings alarm bells in my head!!!!
There is a scrapless pattern with this project, which looks less complicated size wise of fabric used ie. 5 fat quarters (need 49 squares) for colour way (F)
Project 8. Pivot
(Not for the light hearted looking for an easy project)
This projects screams MAX wastage of fabric from the diagrams shown!!!
You need to make up oblongs, then cut out 1/4 segment of a circle called a 'pivot'.
The quarter segments are made up with strips of oblong fabrics 72 pivots need to be made.
Again, you need to be confident stitching on the curve, specially as there are so many seems to negotiate which will make stitching your 1/4 circle more bulky than stitching a single piece of fabric.
There is a scrapless version which looks easier to try.
My other major irritant, is the use of abbreviated language without stating at the very beginning of the book what it means???? In different countries different words have different means!!! Never assume EVERYONE knows the same abbreviations!!!! The use of "WOF" is used countless times throughout this book, and it was not till I got 3/4 through the book did it say as a side note, width of fabric, which is great if you know that to begin with!!!
Details aside, I do love this book as it just bursts with colour, excitement, it's very modern, I love her ideas but most of all I love a book I can use up my stash of fat quarters which I have FAR too many of (which I would never admit to my family, just joking!!!) Plus I love a book which will use up left over fabric!!! With today's economy fabric (specially in the UK, where I am) is 3-4 times the price than it is in the US!!! Throwing away fabrics doesn't enter my vocabulary, it's like throwing away handfuls of money, which is expensive!!! It does alarm me the amount of potential fabric wastage in these patterns too, which I have flagged up a number of times, which with careful planning can easily be avoided.
I do love this book, I do like most of the patterns, but don't think I would make several of the patterns, but it has opened my eyes to the excellent ways of using and recycling fabrics. Having studied textiles, embroidery and art quits I can use my skills in developing other projects to my advantage to use up my favourite fabrics, leftover fabrics with possible potential and recycled fabrics too. Books like this one can set the imagination wild, the sky is the limit!!!
My detailed synopsis is to show this book is not for beginners
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