Visme – Graphics Application

Today on my blog I am presenting something a little different. A while ago I was approached and offered a free full version of the software application Visme to use and review. Thank you to the team at Visme.

First of all, what is Visme? 

Visme is a data presentation and visualization tool that helps the users in making their content compelling and presentable by transforming it into visually appealing presentations and infographics.

Visme provides a collaborative platform for the individuals and teams to start and develop new projects. It provides the team leads and managers with many useful organizational and management tools, enabling them to sort and classify files and information as well as setting access controls for individuals and groups. Likewise, the platform offers automation capabilities to streamline presentation of materials online as well as publishing of content.

Finances Online – Reviews for Business

Well that’s what the corporate people think…what do I like about it?

For a non-graphical designer who likes to make banners and occasional graphics for my blog, and who works in marketing, making promotional flyers and webpages,  I found Visme very easy to use. The support team were very helpful in sending me plenty of tutorials and helpful training materials. I do not have a particularly technical background and used the tutorials to figure things out. These tutorials were clear and helpful. I spent a couple of hours reviewing them and then jumped right in to creating blog banners and infographics with ease. 

Here are some of the key elements I liked about Visme:

  • You have a “Workspace” to the left of your screen, where you can easily see all of your current and past projects. I like the visual aspect of this filing system.

  • Since Google Analytics was incorporated into Visme it has made it very easy to produce charts and other visually interesting ways to present marketing data. There are also animated illustrations, characters and even hand gestures which you can incorporate into infographics to make them visually stunning! 
  • There are many different templates which can be used to get you started with simple graphic design. There are also hundreds of fonts and color selections available.

The screenshot below just shows a selection of Book Cover templates but there are templates for everything you can imagine:

  • You can easily copy styles and apply them elsewhere, to other objects and text. 
  • If you like a particular content block you have made you can save it and reuse it again and again.  Once you’ve made something you like, you can save it to a board and then reuse it, or edit it slightly, no longer needing to recreate items again and again for reuse.
  • You can easily set themes and brand colours across your projects by using the “My Brand” feature.

I used to use Powerpoint at work for a lot of the infographics and marketing flyers I needed, but I have found Visme can do everything I need and more easily and efficiently in many cases and with attractive added flair. I also enjoy making banners and graphics with it for my blog. I would highly recommend you try out the free version if this is something that interests you!

Additional uses of Visme can be found on these links:

Visme is used to make Graphs and Charts: www.visme.co/graph-maker/

Visme is used to also create Printables such as Flyers: www.visme.co/flyer-maker/

Visme is also used to create Scatter Plots: www.visme.co/scatter-plot-maker/scatter plot maker

Visme is also used to publish Survey results: www.visme.co/survey-results-report/


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The Testament of Loki by Joanne M. Harris

Synopsis

In the sequel to The Gospel of Loki, Loki’s adventures continue when he finds a way out of the end of the world and plans to restart the power of the Norse gods.

The end of the world—also known as Ragnarok to the Norse gods—has occurred, and Loki has been trapped in a seemingly endless purgatory, in torture, until he finds a way to escape. It seems that he still exists in the minds of humanity and uses that as a way to our time. 

Back in the ninth world (Earth), Loki finds himself sharing the mind of a teenage girl named Jumps, who is a bit of a mess. She’s also not happy about Loki sneaking his way into her mind since she was originally calling on Thor. Worse, her friends have also been co-opted by the gods: Odin, Jump’s one-eyed best friend in a wheelchair, and Freya, the pretty one. Thor escapes the netherworld as well and shares the mind of a dog, and he finds that it suits him. 

Odin has a plan to bring back the Norse gods ascendancy, but Loki has his own ideas on how things can go—and nothing goes according to plan.

My Review

I read a paperback
4/5 stars

The Testament of Loki is the second book in a series, following on from The Gospel of Loki. I was expecting this book to be adult fiction but I found that it reads much more like YA. The language and themes are very teen-oriented, the character, Jumps, cuts her arms as a cry for help, she has been fat-shamed in middle school, feels shameful about her attraction to members of her own sex and hates being the center of attention. The host characters, Jumps, Evan and Stella are in the midst of high school exams at the time of their possession by three of the Norse gods. The author states on her website, in an interview about the prequel, The Gospel of Loki, that she would prefer to let the reader decide whether her books are adult or YA in genre: http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/books/the-gospel-of-loki/

The setting of the story is also teen-oriented. This story takes place long after Ragnarök, the doom of the Norse gods, and Loki, the narrator, who has been languishing in a cell inside the Black Fortress of Netherworld for centuries, suddenly finds himself inside an RPG video game called AsgardTM, which he managed to access via the world of Dream. He is then somehow able to possess the body of the player, a seventeen year old girl called Jumps. On visiting her friend, Evan he discovers that Odin the Alfather is inhabiting Evan’s body and encourages Loki to play AsgardTM against Thor in order to pull the Thunderer out into the same world. Loki is quick to realize Odin wants to replace him inside Jumps’ human form with Thor and instead manages to throw Thor into the body of Evan’s cute pet dog, Sprinkles. Together they aim to try and find a way to reclaim their power as corporeal gods once more, by reviving Odin’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir and traveling through the world of Dream searching for the head of Mimir, the oracle, which Loki threw from the parapet of Asgard at the end of Ragnarök.

Working against them is Loki’s ex, the demon Gulveig-Heid who is in control of the body of Stella, a vacuous, self-obsessed mean girl who is also on a mission to find the head of the oracle, her father, in order to hear his prophesies on how they can regain their former power.

This is a quirky, amusing story, with a lot of the humour coming from Loki discovering items from present day, such as pizza and trying to figure out how to use modern devices like phones and “The Book of Faces”, which he uses to figure out the identity of the people known by his host.

The Testament of Loki was fairly short for a novel, at 258 pages in the edition I read and very easy to read, apart from the first two chapters, before Loki finds himself in the video game. These were a little harder going and in a different style to the rest of the book. They might put off some teen readers from reading the remainder of the story, which is a shame as I found the book on the whole to be an unusual, enjoyable and definitely irreverent adventure involving the Trickster at his snarkiest and most entertaining.

The Testament of Loki will be more appealing to fans of pop culture and lighter reads – definitely not for those who prefer the more traditional style of epic Norse myths.

Buy it Here:

https://www.amazon.com/Testament-Loki-Joanne-M-Harris-ebook/dp/B075RQSH5X

Add it to your To Be Read list here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36373610-the-testament-of-loki

About the Author

Joanne Harris is the internationally best-selling author of eighteen novels, plus novellas, scripts, short stories, libretti, lyrics, articles, and most recently, a self-help book for writers, TEN THINGS ABOUT WRITING. In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013, was awarded an MBE by the Queen.
Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion of the system’. She is active on YouTube, where she posts short seminars for writers, and on Twitter, where she writes stories and gives writing tips as @joannechocolat. She also performs in a live music and storytelling show with the #Storytime Band, and works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire.
She also has a form of synaesthesia which enables her to smell colours. Red, she says, smells of chocolate.



The Yule Lads – A Celebration of Iceland’s Christmas Folklore by Brian Pilkington

Background

Taken From National Geographic (https://api.nationalgeographic.com/distribution/public/amp/travel/destinations/europe/iceland/folklore-myths?__twitter_impression=true)

Roughly translating to “Dark Castles” in Icelandic, Dimmuborgir is thought to be the home of Grýla, the homicidal half troll, half ogre. Her 13 children are known as the Yule Lads—mischievous Icelandic renditions of the western Santa Claus. In the 13 days leading up to Christmas, children around Iceland leave their shoes in the window sill and receive gifts if they have been well-behaved. Those who have been naughty receive only a rotten potato, and might be snatched by the Lads and cooked for Grýla’s dinner. Grýla also owns a large black cat who eats only once a year. It waits until all of the children unwrap their Christmas gifts, and then eats anyone who didn’t receive a piece of clothing.

At one point in 1746, children were so afraid of being eaten that the government had to step in and put a ban on using the myth as a scare tactic.


Description

Gifts left in shoes, milk disappearing from the fridge, mysterious figures whisking into the shadows…at Christmas time in Iceland this can mean only one thing – the Yule Lads are back in town! Over the centuries the Icelanders have developed a highly unusual set of Yuletide traditions, from the food they eat – smoked lamb, rotten skate and leaf bread – to their colourful folklore featuring the giant troll Gryla, her thirteen rascally sons, and that huge, hungry feline – the Yule Cat. The Yule Lads gives readers of all ages a delightful insight into the history, customs and characters of Christmas in Iceland. Beautifully illustrated hard cover in English.


My Review

I bought this book in Iceland, before I had any children, because I loved Brian Pilkington’s wonderful illustrations and wanted a souvenir of my trip. I was captivated by Icelandic folklore and particularly liked the story of the Yule Lads, mischievous tykes who are supposed to visit your house on specific dates in December. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Watch out for the Yule Lads this December!

Buy the book here:

https://www.amazon.com/Yule-Lads-Celebration-Icelands-Christmas/dp/9979322195

Add it to your To Be Read list here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2584103



Wasteland by Terry Tyler

Synopsis

‘Those who escape ‘the system’ are left to survive outside society. The fortunate find places in off-grid communities; the others disappear into the wasteland.’

The year is 2061, and in the new UK megacities, the government watches every move you make. Speech is no longer free—an ‘offensive’ word reaching the wrong ear means a social demerit and a hefty fine. One too many demerits? Job loss and eviction, with free transport to your nearest community for the homeless: the Hope Villages.

Rae Farrer is a megacity girl through and through, proud of her educational and career achievements, until a shocking discovery about her birth forces her to question every aspect of life in UK Megacity 12.

On the other side of the supposedly safe megacity walls, a few wastelanders suspect that their freedom cannot last forever…

Wasteland is the stand-alone sequel to Hope, and is the second and final book in the Operation Galton series. 

My Review

Read on Kindle
5/5 stars

In Terry Tyler’s version of 2061 people are living in government-controlled comfortable Megacities and less comfortable Hope villages, where putting a foot wrong can result in disaster and worse. Hope villages were introduced in the previous installment of the ‘Operation Galton’ series, ‘Hope’, but over the intervening years they have become even more dangerous, desolate places. A small percentage of the free-thinking population has escaped to the Wasteland, where they live outside of society and are known as ‘rats’.

The concept of the ‘Wasteland’ immediately reminded me of ‘The Wilds’ in the YA ‘Delirium’ trilogy by Lauren Oliver which I read about a decade ago and absolutely loved. Having said that, the books themselves are quite different. Wasteland is not a YA novel and although both are dystopian, the world of ‘Operation Galton’ feels more sinister, probably because it is not very far removed from where our present day society is heading. Our lives are more and more controlled by smartphones tracking our sleep, steps taken, screen use and conversations, offering us intrusive targeted advertising which demands our attention every waking second, much like the ‘com’ devices in Wasteland.

The powers that be have decided it’s time to clean up the Wasteland and plan to use its inhabitants in their macabre human experiments. This is happening in the background as we follow Rae’s journey from typical Megacity inhabitant to enlightened escapee, as she searches the Wasteland for the family she was separated from at the tender age of two.

The story begins at a relatively slow pace, as we are introduced to new characters, then half way through the book, the pace picks up quite dramatically and it becomes a gripping thrill-ride with unexpected twists along the way. Wasteland is an exciting page-turner and I was rooting for Rae and the people she encounters in the Wasteland all the way. It was easy to visualise the action sequences and I can imagine this story being made into a blockbuster movie.

This dystopian story left me feeling unsettled, with a lot to think about and the intriguing parting shot about Ace’s background leaves the way open for further stories from Rae’s world which I would love to see sometime.  Although it is the second book in the Operation Galton series, Wasteland works equally well as a standalone read.

Recommended for fans of stories set in dystopian societies and thrilling fox vs. hounds style hunts!

Buy it here:

https://www.amazon.com/Wasteland-Operation-Galton-Book-2-ebook/dp/B087JZ2DT5

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wasteland-Operation-Galton-Book-2-ebook/dp/B087JZ2DT5

Add it to your To Be Read list here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53245445

About the Author

I am self-published and proud to be so, and have twenty-two books on Amazon. My latest release is The Visitor, a post-apocalyptic murder mystery set in the same world as my Project Renova series, but a separate story, with new characters.

I am currently at work on Megacity, the third and final book in the dystopian Operation Galton series, and the follow up Wasteland and Hope.

I’m a Walking Dead addict; I love watching great TV series, and reading anything to do with history, post apocalypse, dystopian scenarios, anthropology, mountaineering and polar exploration.

Favourite writers: Gemma Lawrence, Kate Mary, Blake Crouch, Deborah Swift, Carol Hedges, Douglas Kennedy, John Boyne, Deborah Moggach, Judith Arnopp, Mark Barry, Jon Krakauer, Phillipa Gregory, Robert Leigh, John Privilege, Dylan Morgan, Kate Atkinson, Norah Lofts, Dorothy Parker, Bill Bryson, PJ O’Rourke, Ann Swinfen, Keith Blackmore, Frank Tayell.

Find Terry Tyler here: http://terrytyler59.blogspot.com/