Saturday, August 28, 2010

Top-Notch Knits by Martingale & Company link for Top-Notch Knits by Martingale & Company

This is a pattern-packed book with something for everyone. Divided into sections:

Scarves shawls & wraps

Tanks tees & shells


Cardigans & Jackets

Thirty-three patterns in all! Fourteen of the patterns are labeled easy or for beginner knitters, and nineteen are for intermediate or advanced knitters.

The easy color-block shell with the cotton yarn looks pretty and comfortable. There is a lovely cashmere/silk blend lace scarf for the more advanced knitter. My favorite is the shark fin tank which I think I could hand knit the bottom border and then put on my knitting machine to finish. There is also a draped mock neck tank that would be perfect for the knitting machine or by hand. There are a few to make with bulky knits for a faster project.

There are nice large photographs of each of the finished projects. The instructions are well-written and easy to follow. The number and variety of patterns are what make this book so appealing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Simple Stitches Knits with Textured Details by Eva Wiechmann link for Simple Stitches
Simple Stitches, Knits with Textured Details is another great knitt  ing book from Martingale & Company publishing. The book starts with the appropriate how-to directions for stitches and finishing. I don’t think I have ever had a knitting pattern book in which I like every pattern and want to make each one of them – until this book. The sweaters are simple in styling with beautiful stitch patterns to create an elegant design with the textured details.

The first section is Garter-stitch projects which contains two short sleeve tops, a cardigan, and one long sleeve pullover tunic. The Seed-stitch Projects section has one each of a short-sleeved, sleeveless, tunic, and jacket. The Ribbing and Cable Projects section contains a cardigan, a pullover, and two short-sleeved tops. The last section is Openwork Projects has a cardigan, a vest and one short-sleeved top. The patterns are easy to follow and there are detailed photographs for each design.

Skill levels for these patterns are nine easy and six intermediate, but even the easiest pattern will look like a masterpiece. I love this quote from the book:

“In our increasingly hectic world, knitting should be relaxing. The patterns in this book were designed to do just that – help you relax as you knit.”

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Alphabet Woof by Sherrie A Madia and Illustrated by Patrick Carlson link for Alphabet Woof 
Alphabet Woof by Sherrie A. Madia is a delightful storybook about Moxy, the dog, and his family. The family grandma is quite the cook and makes up some very interesting soups! I always wonder what my dog would say if he could talk, and in Alphabet Woof we find out that Moxy has plenty to say.

The story is written in rhyme and would be an ideal book to read to a small child. I think it would be a little difficult for a beginner reader, but certainly with a little help it is a perfect book to learn from. It would also be a good book for small children to point out and name items in the illustrations. In the kitchen scene there are some unusual and fun objects.
The illustrations by Patrick Carlson are colorful and entertaining. Moxy is adorable and the family members engage in activities together. I would recommend Alphabet Woof for young children, a gift book for children, pre-school or elementary school classes. A portion of the proceeds benefits the SPCA International.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fear No Evil by Robin Caroll link For Fear No Evil
Fear No Evil is a crime/mystery novel set in Louisiana. I have not read the first book in this series, Deliver Us From Evil, but this book is perfectly fine as a standalone.

Lincoln Vailes is a likeable character as a Smokey Mountains park ranger turned Eternal Springs police officer. Lincoln’s faith is being tested as he tries to accept the Alzheimer’s disease overtaking his father, a former pastor. Jade is a new social worker helping abused woman and children, but her past comes back to haunt her in the form of gang activity.

Just locating the story in an interesting area isn’t always enough. Having grown up in Louisiana, I would have appreciated more description of the sights, scents, and feel of the area. But the mystery story is interesting and also has a light romance.

I especially appreciate that the main characters are men and women of faith, and the book contains scripture intermingled with the story. You will, however, see the end coming from five miles away!  Even so, it is an enjoyable read.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Petra - City of Stone by T. L. Higley

Amazon link to purchase Petra City of Stone
About the Book:  Young widow Cassia arrives in Petra seeking protection with her late husband's estranged family---only to discover the man she married was heir to the throne! When power-hungry Queen Hagiru immediately begins plotting to murder Cassia's son, will Cassia and a small band of believers be able to win the fierce spiritual battle that ensues?

My Review: What a wonderfully rich and descriptive book! Petra is nothing less than enthralling. T. L. Higley’s detailed description of the area of and around Petra was so vivid that I was compelled to Google some photographs. I found that her verbal illustrations were spot-on.

The writing is beautiful and the story is interesting. Cassia is a strong character as she faces a new land, new people and danger around every corner. She is not sure who to trust, but she forms strong bonds with the local Christians.There is a light romance with Julian. He has a difficult decision of whether to follow God’s leading or the woman he loves.

Queen Hagiru’s evil plans are truly frightening as she calls upon demonic powers to help her achieve her goal to present her son as King, but the awesome power of God is evident all through the book. 

This one is certain to end of in my top ten favorite books this year.  Be sure to watch the trailer below:

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Skinny on Willpower by Jim Randel link for The Skinny on Willpower

The Skinny on Willpower –how to develop self-discipline is another in The Skinny On series. I previously reviewed The Skinny on Time Management. The Skinny On books are designed to bring a power pack of information in a quick-read form. Introduced with “Give us about an hour to read about Bill and Beth’s struggles with the willpower they need to accomplish their goals”. The book delivers what it promises.

The stick figures are back, and I would have missed them if they had not! The pictures and lesson layout make this an interesting way to study this important topic. Preparation, goals setting, goals management, thought control, challenges, and focus are all covered in these simple lessons.

No matter what you are trying to accomplish, keeping your focus on track can be a difficult project. The Skinny on Willpower will give you the tools to help the reader accomplish their goals.
Book Blogger Hop

Well the blog question this week is "Do you listen to music while you read?  My answer is definitely NO.  I almost never listen to music.  I know, that is strange, but I am just not a music person.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Saturday Style – Casual Knits for Weekend Wear by Doreen L. Marquart link to purchase Saturday Style

Saturday Style contains 16 sweater patterns, with three tees, three jackets, six cardigans and four pullovers. Nice colorful large photos of the finished sweater accompany each pattern. The patterns are easy to follow, with nice text spacing to make them easy to read when the instructions are more detailed. All of the patterns are labeled easy to intermediate with most being easy. One problem I had was that least half of the finished sample sweaters were knitted with self-patterning yarn which can look nice, but in some cases made it difficult to see any patterning stitches in the designs.

I like the diagonal yoke jacket, (pictured on the cover) although I would not use the self-patterning yarn. I also liked the Drop-Shoulder Tee which is a simple round neck tee with a cap sleeve. I love knitted tees especially with cotton yarns. Several of the cardigans were a bulky look and had large buttons which I didn’t like, but there were a couple of oversized sweaters that looked like just the thing to wrap up in on a cold winter day.

Saturday Style has nice casual styles that would be good for beginners or advanced beginning knitters.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In Harm's Way by Ridley Pearson link for In Harm's Way
About the Book: Sun Valley sheriff Walt Fleming's budding relationship with photographer Fiona Kenshaw hits a rough patch after Fiona is involved in a heroic river rescue and she attempts to duck the press. Despite her job and her laudable actions, she begs Walt to keep her photo out of the paper, avoiding him when he can't. Then Walt gets a phone call that changes everything: Lou Boldt, a police sergeant out of Seattle, calls to report that a recent murder may have a Sun Valley connection.

My Review:In Harm's Way is a good mystery/police drama with a likeable main character. Walt Fleming is a single dad trying to balance his difficult, time consuming job with the time he needs to spend with his children.

There are interesting interactions with his coworkers, including his new romantic interest, Fiona Kenshaw. I thought Fiona's emotional issues were a little over-the-top without a complete explanation, and the character of Kira got a little lost in the story. Lou Boldt from another of Pearson’s series is introduced in this book and I think it was a good addition.
The mystery conclusion fell a little short for me. Although I did not figure out the end ahead of time, it still left me unimpressed. I still found the book interesting enough that I would like to read the other Walt Fleming series books, Killer Weekend, Killer View, and Killer Summer.
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