Saturday, July 30, 2011

Joy by Anne L Watson

Joy is a captivating story of Mirai San Julian, an adopted child of a single mother and later raised by her aunt. Mirai wants to learn about her past, but doing so may hurt her relationships with those she loves.

Joy was a joy to read! It is a beautifully written rich descriptive story of love and life.  It was interesting to read the history of the carousels and their restoration. Aunt Joy’s lifelong ministry to help those who need guidance and supervision was touching.  Although Mirai is a bit of a free spirit, as the story advances you begin to see the impression Joy’s life-work had on Mirai.

All of the characters are well developed and people that I could cared about.  The story flows well and every time I had to put it down, I couldn’t wait to get back to the story.  I highly recommend this book. 

Get hooked on Tunisian Crochet – learn how with 13 projects by Sheryl Thies

Martingale Publishing link to purchase Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet
Also available as an E-book!

The thirteen patterns in the book are attractive and practical projects for learning the craft of Tunisian Crochet. The patterns include a set of placemats and coasters, three pillows, a tote bag, a scarf, a variety of shawls and wraps, a purse, an afghan, 2 sweaters, a jacket, and fingerless gloves.

I am a knitter and never learned crochet beyond a granny square, but I had a Tunisian crochet hook so I decided to give it a try.  I am a visual learner so I had to use the diagrams first and then go back and read the text to figure out how to do the stitch.  I did crochet up a small (very small!) sample that you can see in the picture.

The projects start out very basic and then progress as you learn and practice.  I would love to make the Tranquil Escape cardigan, but I think I had better start with the placemats first! Great book!

Baby's First Quilts by Nancy J. Martin

Martingale Publishing link to purchase Baby's First Quilts

Using traditional patterns and novelty fabrics, Nancy J. Martin has designed a book of patterns for beginner quilters. Baby’s First Quilts starts out with an impressive 21 pages of quilting instructions to prepare even the most novice quilter.  There are very basic instructions with information on rotary cutter equipment, and the use of other quilting supplies.  Also, there are detailed directions for matching blocks, sewing direction, and pressing - very important for a new quilter. 

Most of the quilts patterns are for beginners using novelty (or picture) fabric for design. All have clear color diagrams to show the placement of pieces.  Most are squares, triangles, and/or framed fussy-cut novelty fabric pieces.  Even the one appliqué pattern of Santas would be simple enough for a first time appliqué quilter.  There is one circle pattern, Beach Balls, which would probably require more experience because the pieces are sewn on a curve.

Since the only thing that would distinguish these as baby quilts is the fabrics and size, you could use the same patterns to make lap quilts at this size or rework the size to make full-sized quilts. The quilts would be appropriate not only for babies and children, but also for charity quilting.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Reluctant Detective by Martha Ockley

The Reluctant Detective by Martha Ockley is the first in a new faith-based cozy series.  Faith Morgan is a former law enforcement officer and now an Anglican priest.  While visiting a church in Little Worthy, another priest drops dead during communion, obviously of poisoning. Faith becomes involved in the investigation lead by Detective Ben Shorter, her former lover.

The Reluctant Detective was easier to read than some other English books, but there were still a few terms that I left me wondering.  I enjoyed the characters of Faith and Ben, but I thought that all of the characters could have used some extra and gradual development. 

Although described as a cozy, I found at least one crime scene explicitly described more so than most cozies I have read.  I thought the mystery was a little too scattered, but then I enjoy reading mysteries that are solved more methodically.  I still enjoyed the book and would definitely read the next in this series.

While this is a faith-based book that contains scripture, it is by no means preachy or overly religious.  Short scriptures come to Faith’s remembrance such as “Sin shall not have dominion over you” and help her to make decisions.

Sometimes I find one line or quote in a book that stands out to me and in The Reluctant Detective it was on P. 221: “People can go mad looking for God too hard, she’d thought.”  I would add the sentences before, but that would be a spoiler!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blogfest 2011

The three winners have been chosen - #1 J.M. from MO, #2 P.S. from AL, and #3 R.P. from VA. All have responded back, so their prizes will go out this week.
I hope you had fun with  BlogFest 2011!

#3                                                                 #1

BlogFest 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Knitted Finger Puppets by Meg Leach

Knitted Finger Puppets by Meg Leach contains 34 quick projects for finger puppets. This is a good way to use up leftover yarns, and these wonderful portable toys can provide hours of play in public places when you have to wait. Whether your child is in church, in a doctors office, or going for a car ride these will provide fun, imaginative, and quiet playtime. 

The instructions are clear and there are good photographs of each puppet. All skill levels are represented here, with most being easy. 

There are basic knitting instructions, instructions for using DPNs (double pointed needles), and increasing/decreasing.  Using DPNs takes practice , but once you catch on, they are fun to use. There are also instructions for very basic crochet stitches. You can make individual animals and characters or make a complete themed group.  The themes are a North Pole Christmas, circus, and fairy tales.  This is a nice book to make some quick toys for family or charities.  These are popular in some charities, especially for children in hospitals or dialysis. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pennies From Heaven revisited

In May I posted a review of the Pennies From Heaven Quilt book.  I was so taken with the quilt that I decided to make it.  I have posted a few quick pictures of my progress on the quilt.  The blocks I have made are not pressed, trimmed or embellished yet. (yes, one of the blocks was photographed upside down!)  I simplified some too. Here is the post.  Scroll down to see the pictures.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

This book is the sequel to The Traveler’s Gift, which I did not read.  In The Final Summit, the Archangel Gabriel brings a message from God to David Ponder.  Gather all of the Travelers together and they must answer the following question with a two-word answer:  “What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?”

I was very disappointed in this book.  It seems that it is part spiritual fantasy, part new age self-help.  I didn't find this book particularly interesting or intriguing, and it was definitely not spiritually sound. It seems in this book God tells man “save yourself”!

The beginning felt creepily like an infomercial for the get-rich-quick with real estate shown on late night TV.  I also found it odd when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to David and told him that he was considered by the other travelers as “The greatest of them all”. In another scene David meets Winston Churchill (another traveler) and has a cigar with him.

While the main point of the story (the end) is not a bad idea, it certainly is not a Christian view of what our focus in life should be. There is also a good lesson for living debt-free.

I have read good Christian fantasy and have even read secular fantasy that had more Christian delineation of good and evil than did this book.  I can't recommend this book.

A copy of The Final Summit was provided free of charge by Thomas Nelson Publishing for review with the understanding that the review will be my honest opinion.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Last of the Good Guys by Ernesto Patino

Amazon link to purchase The Last of the Good Guys  
The Last of the Good Guys is another interesting story by Ernesto Patino. Alec Santana, ex-cop and now an Insurance Claims adjuster, tries to help his best friend's wife find out why her husband killed himself. When more suicides occur and all connect back to an incident many years before, Alec knows he is being pulled deeply into a complicated mystery.

I really like the character of Alec Santana and his fledgling P.I. business. There were just enough characters involved to keep me guessing, but not too many to overcomplicate things. Secrets and lies always add up to a good mystery, and this author knows how to come up with some good secrets.

This is the second book by this author that I have read. I enjoyed Web of Secrets and The Last of the Good Guys both very much. The first, Web of Secrets, is reviewed here.  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...