Gift Giving & Gift Ideas and Buying Guides

Great Reads and Games for Dad

Disclaimer: Beautiful Touches received books from some of the publishers listed below, to facilitate the publication which is a part of our Gift Ideas and Buying Guides series of posts.  No monetary compensation has been exchanged.  All opinions stated are those of the author.

Give a great book and some fun games to dad this year!  We’ve got a list of several awesome titles and some fantastic games that dad can play with the family or with friends. There is a selection for dad with all kinds of interests, so welcome to…

Great Reads and Games for Dad


Fun Games from Buffalo Games & Puzzles

Buffalo Games and Puzzles Great Reads and Games for Dad

We choose Apollo and You’re on Mute for dad this year.  Both are games that he will enjoy AND we have one grandson in particular that will LOVE Apollo, and I think You’re on Mute will be fun to play with our friends and some of our kids! Game night…bring it on!


You are “go for launch!” Apollo is a cooperative strategy game inspired by the NASA moon missions. The year is 1961, President Kennedy challenged the nation to land astronauts on the moon by the end of the decade. Now it’s up to you to walk in the footsteps of NASA’s pioneers and embark on the missions that made history… FOR ALL MANKIND!

Play as Mission Control or an Astronaut. Both sides must work together and strategize to complete flight stages, overcome obstacles, repair the spacecraft, and keep communications clear. It is the team that determines if the mission is a success or failure.

Includes two mission packs, Gemini and Apollo with real NASA mission facts for basic and advanced play.

You’re on Mute:

Get some face time in this hilarious guessing game of bad connections! Jump on-screen and connect with your teammates to guess as many keywords as you can. Players take turns being “On-Screen” giving clues to their teammates- a literal screen that magnifies your mouth! Each game uses the same key words for all three rounds. Play from a STRONG SIGNAL- where players can say anything when giving clues, to WEAK CONNECTIONS- where they can only use one-word clues. Finally, in the last round YOU’RE ON MUTE and must mouth the key words while zoomed in on screen for all to see.


Info from Buffalo Games & Puzzles

Manufacturer of world-class games, mind-blowing jigsaw puzzles & unbelievable fun!

What began in a small office in north Buffalo is now the premier manufacturing facility for jigsaw puzzles and games in North America. Buffalo Games products are available at all major retailers in the U.S.A. and Canada and are produced with a careful eye toward quality and sustainable practices. The company’s portfolio includes popular licenses such as Charles Wysocki, Star Wars, Pokémon, Pac-Man, Aimee Stewart, and many more! Buffalo Games continues to redefine what it means to make life more fun and rewarding.

Find so many more great games on their site, and be sure to check out their wonderful puzzles!

Learn More, Follow, and Shop Buffalo Games & Puzzles: Website | Facebook | Twitter |Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube


Great Reads from Rocky Nook 

I’ll be totally honest…my husband isn’t into photography, but I AM!!!! So, I know a good photography book when I see one.  If the dad in your life loves to pick up a camera this is the publisher for him. Check out the titles that I picked.

 Rocky Nook Great Reads and Games for Dad

THE IPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK – How to get professional-looking images using the camera you always have with you

By Scott Kelby

Learn to take great photos with your iPhone—the camera you always have with you!

Imagine if someone took the same photographic techniques, principles, and tools used by high-end and professional photographers, but applied them to shooting with an iPhone. Imagine the type of images you’d be able to create using those same ideas. Well, finally, somebody has.

The world’s #1 best-selling photography techniques author is about to break all the rules as he shows you how to apply the same techniques today’s top pro photographers use to make stunning images. You’re going to learn exactly how to use these techniques to create images that people will just not believe you could actually take with a phone (but with the quality of the iPhone’s camera, you absolutely can!).

Scott Kelby leaves all the techno-speak behind and, instead, treats the whole book as if it were just you and he out on a shoot with your iPhones, using his trademark casual, plain-English writing style to help you unlock the power of your iPhone to make the type of pictures you never thought could be done with a phone. You’ll learn:

    • Which tools to use to make pro-quality portraits in any lighting situation.
    • How to create stunning landscape shots that people will swear you took with an expensive DSLR or mirrorless camera.
    • Proven posing techniques that flatter your subject and make anyone you photograph look their very best in every shot.
    • How to organize and edit your photos like a pro!
    • The pros’ top tips for making amazing shots of everything from flowers to product shots, from food photography to travel shots, and everything in between.

Each page covers a single concept, a single tool, or a trick to take your iPhone photography from snapshots to shots that will make your friends and family say, “Wait…you took this?!”

DOGTAOGRAPHY – a Knock-Your-Socks-Off Guide to Capturing the Best Dog Photos of Earth

By Kaylee Greer

If you want to learn to create out-of-this-world photos that capture the heart and soul of a dog, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re a professional looking to up your dog photography game, or an amateur striving to take better pictures of your four-legged best friend, Dogtography is your guide to crafting jaw-dropping photographs that are exploding with personality. And there is no better teacher than Kaylee Greer, one of the world’s most in-demand dog photographers. Kaylee travels the globe photographing dogs for some of the biggest pet brands on Earth, teaches industry-renowned workshops, and stars in Nat Geo Wild’s original television mini-series Pupparazzi, chronicling her colorful adventures photographing dogs across America.

Dogtography is jam-packed with tips and tricks and—just like Kaylee and her award-winning photographs—an infectious personality. In this book, you’ll learn Kaylee’s best-kept secrets, including camera settings, lens choices, and post-processing techniques. You’ll explore tried and true methods for working with dogs of all shapes and sizes, unlock the power of positive reinforcement, and discover the gift of giving back to dogs in need through the magic of photography.

THE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK – The step-by-step secrets for how to make your photos look like the pros’!

By Scott Kelby

Learn how to take professional-quality photographs using the same tricks today’s top photographers use (surprisingly, it’s easier than you’d think)!

This is a completely, totally updated version of the #1 best-selling digital photography book of all time! It’s the award winning, worldwide smash hit, written by Scott Kelby, that’s been translated into dozens of different languages.

Here’s how Scott describes this book’s brilliant premise: “If you and I were out on a shoot, and you asked me, ‘Hey, how do I get this flower to be in focus, with the background out of focus?,’ I wouldn’t stand there and give you a photography lecture. In real life, I’d just say, ‘Put on your zoom lens, set your f-stop to f/2.8, focus on the flower, and fire away.’ That’s what this book is all about: you and I out shooting where I answer questions, give you advice, and share the secrets I’ve learned just like I would with a friend—without all the technical explanations and techie photo speak.”

This isn’t a book of theory—full of confusing jargon and detailed concepts. This is a book on which button to push, which setting to use, and when to use it. With over 200 of the most closely guarded photographic “tricks of the trade,” this book gets you shooting dramatically better-looking, sharper, more colorful, more professional-looking photos every time.

Each page covers a single concept that makes your photography better. Every time you turn the page, you’ll learn another pro setting, tool, or trick to transform your work from snapshots into gallery prints. If you’re tired of taking shots that look “okay,” and if you’re tired of looking in photography magazines and thinking, “Why don’t my shots look like that?” then this is the book for you.

Info from Rocky Nook:

We love photography. Everything about it. Whether it’s capturing the candid smile of a child riding her bike for the first time, photographing the grit of Manhattan’s streets, recording an epic sunrise over Half Dome in Yosemite, or shooting a new line of clothes from Milan for the next cover of Vogue, we find it all fascinating, and we love how photographers express themselves through the infinitely variable capture of light, color, and moment. Seeing as you’re visiting our site, you probably do, too.

Rocky Nook is a small, independent publishing company that was founded in 2006 in Santa Barbara with the goal of helping photographers of all levels improve their skills in capturing those moments that matter. We are a small (but mighty!) seven-person team that loves creating beautiful books that help you master the technology, find inspiration, and hone your craft in order to create better pictures. In doing so, we are fortunate to partner with many of the best photographers and teachers in the world.

In 2016, the company relocated to San Rafael, California—just 13 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge—after founder Gerhard Rossbach retired and handed the reins over to Scott Cowlin. Scott is lucky to be joined by a very talented group of publishing veterans and photography enthusiasts. Half of the team is based in San Rafael with the other half keeping our roots alive in Santa Barbara.

Learn More, Follow, and Shop Rocky Nook: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Great Reads from Ulysses Press

So many good books to choose from…where do you start? I went with trivia, the cosmos,  and cooking!

Ulysses Press Great Reads and Games for Dad

The Big Book of Spy Trivia

By Bernadette Johnson 

Discover the fascinating true stories of spies and secret agents throughout history in this ultimate collection of espionage trivia.

Whether you’re a wannabe 007 or just a fan of subterfuge, the fun facts and legendary stories in this big book of spy trivia are sure to shock and fascinate. Discover how the most infamous spy organizations like the CIA and the MI6 came into existence, how they recruit citizens into their fold, and how they have shaped some of the world’s largest and most memorable historical events. You’ll even learn real tactics that spies use on missions, from escaping zip ties to reading the body language of a stranger. This collection spans centuries and countries, including:

• One of history’s first and most iconic spy operations: the Trojan Horse in ancient Greece
• America’s first spy organization: George Washington’s Culper Ring
• Real-life KGB spies from the McCarthy Cold War era: American citizens Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
• And much more!

Perfect for any person who has been fascinated by the shadowy world of espionage, this fact-packed book quizzes readers on their spy knowledge, from pop culture icons to unsung heroes that history books have forgotten.

See It with a Small Telescope

By Will Kalif

Have Fun Exploring the Stars with Close-up Views of Space Objects Right from Your Own Backyard

It doesn’t take an astronomy degree to feel like an astronaut and explore space with a small telescope. See It with a Small Telescope takes the mystery and struggle out of exploring the unknown and discovering new worlds! With hands-on tips and tricks, this book offers a complete guide to unleashing the full power of a small telescope and going beyond the basics.

Without technical jargon and complicated star charts, this book offers step-by-step instructions and easy-to-use illustrations for finding over 100 celestial objects in the night’s sky, including:

Saturn’s Rings

Jupiter’s Moons

Orion Nebula

Andromeda Galaxy

Polaris Double Star

Pegasus Globular Cluster

Apollo 11 Site…and more!

The I Love Trader Joe’s Cookbook: 10th Anniversary Edition

by Cherie Mercer Twohy

Discover the countless meals you can make with your favorite Trader Joe’s® products, including low-carb, keto-friendly recipes, sweet treats, vegetarian and vegan ideas, party-ready appetizers and snacks, and much more!

Both budget-friendly and delicious, we all love Trader Joe’s®! So why not explore your love for this beloved grocery store with the creative and mouthwatering recipes in The I Love Trader Joe’s® Cookbook? From hors d’oeuvres and appetizers for the perfect party to restaurant-worthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, you’ll be surprised at the amazing meals you can make after a quick trip to Trader Joe’s®, including:

  • Apple sausage and cheddar bites
  • Brie and pear galette
  • Chile and crab chowder
  • Lamb loin with pomegranate reduction
  • Margarita pork chops

TRADER JOE’S® is a registered trademark of Trader Joe’s® Company and is used here for informational purposes only. This book is independently authored and published and is not affiliated or associated with Trader Joe’s® Company in any way. Trader Joe’s® Company does not authorize, sponsor, or endorse this book or any of the information contained herein.

The Unofficial ALDI Cookbook

By Jeanette Hurt

Discover the countless budget-friendly and delicious meals you can make with your favorite ALDI® products!

Fans of ALDI®, it’s time to celebrate your love of the best-ever grocery store with a cookbook dedicated entirely to your favorite products. You’ll find creative and mouth watering ideas that take simple, budget-friendly ALDI-brand ingredients and turn them into fantastic dishes. From healthy appetizers to restaurant-worthy comfort food classics and everything in between, you’ll be surprised at the amazing breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you can make after a shopping trip to your local ALDI®, including:

• Baked French Toast with Berries
• Breaded Chicken Parmigiana
• Shrimp Scampi
• Everything Bagel Dip
• Easy-Peasy Frozen Yogurt
• And much more!

With 75 recipes and full-color photographs, you’ll be cooking like a pro with your favorite grocery store staples.

ALDI® is a registered trademark of ALDI® Company and is used here for informational purposes only. This book is independently authored and published and is not affiliated or associated with ALDI® Company in any way. ALDI® Company does not authorize, sponsor, or endorse this book or any of the information contained herein.

The Flippin’ Awesome Backyard Griddle Cookbook

By Paul Sidoriak

The first all-encompassing guide to the best-selling outdoor grill that’s revolutionizing every meal

With 50 delicious recipes and full color photos, this book takes you from casual griller to restaurant-level master chef. Whether you’re making diner-style breakfasts or shrimp-flipping hibachi dinners, this book has all the tools for taking your outdoor grilling game to the next level.

Get the most out of your backyard griddle while learning how to make flippin’ awesome dishes like Johnny Cakes and pancakes, Smashed Burgers, cheesesteaks, stir fry, pizza, and much more. This recipe book will have you grillin’ like a pro in no time.

Info From Ulysses Press

Named one of Publishers Weekly’s ten “fastest-growing small publishers,” Ulysses Press is reinventing the relationship between reader, author and publisher.

Beyond market-driven, Ulysses Press focuses on highly targeted niche groups that aren’t being offered the books they want by the big corporate-owned publishing houses.

At Ulysses, we believe that, as pop culture changes at the speed of the Internet, books have a powerful role to play in the interconnected world. Above all other media, books offer readers a trusted source for information and a vital escape from our highly connected, digital world.

Learn More, Follow, and Shop Ulysses Press: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

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