Netgalley.com is offering Winter Knitting from MillaMia knitwear for review. It is a lovely book for those of you who wish to knit for children or household items like pillows. The adult patterns include mittens, sweaters and socks.
This inspiring new book from the team behind MillaMia knitwear is packed with projects to take you through the wintertime. As the seasons change from cool, crisp autumn to the cold and dark of winter, Scandinavians are particularly good at easing the transition with clothing, interiors and food that bring warmth and light. Sisters Katarina and Helena Rosen aim to share some Swedish wonderful traditions, designs and activities with you – but of course with the signature modern twist that MillaMia bring to all things knitted. In this book you will find a mix of knitting projects to see you through the cold season, including stylish garments and accessories for adults and children, cosy homewares and unique gifts. Indulge in kitting yourself out for the first fall of snow, make clothes that the kids can wear for the festive season and create interior projects that will bring warmth both literally and visually. You will also find a selection of ‘bonus’ projects – with a couple of favourite festive recipes and some wonderful paper projects that any yarn enthusiast will enjoy.
I left my wedding dress hanging in a tree somewhere in North Dakota.
I don’t know why that particular tree appealed to me. Perhaps it was because it looked as if it had given up and died years ago and was still standing because it didn’t know what else to do.
That is, by far, one of my favorite opening lines to a Contemporary Women’s Literature book ever. And then I read the book. And it touched me, ripped my heart, soothed my mind and eased my soul in so many ways that one moment I was laughing hysterically at the antics of the four main female characters, the next sobbing uncontrollably over the pain and fear that women and children face – the innocent and the damned.
Growing up unloved and neglected is horrific. Not only because your parent doesn’t love you, but because you know your parent doesn’t want your love. You learn that your love is inferior. Unneeded. Worthless. You’re inferior, you’re unneeded, you’re worthless.
I grew up as the child of a sociopath. I know from growing up unloved, unneeded, being told every day I was worthless. How awful is it that Julia’s life make my own look like a walk in the park with ice cream and flowers? The daughter of an alcoholic meth head, Julia spent her early life beaten, neglected, starved and repeatedly raped and abused by her mother’s “boyfriends,” a collection of alcoholic, meth head pedophiles and violent criminals.
But Julia perseveres, gaining her degree in art and working in a gallery in Boston, pulling her life together and trying desperately to forget from whence she came. Desperate to feel ‘worthy’ she accepts the advances of the wealthy, entitled Robert Stanfield, the latest scion of a wealthy Boston family. At first thrilled to gain the attention of such a man, she soon learns the truth. Robert is a true psychopath – a vicious and abusive rapist who slowly comes to swallow up Julia’s life, pushing her into a cycle of fear and abuse that soon drains the very soul from her body. Blaming herself for what he does to her, as victims do, she takes his abuse, hoping that he will change, that things will get better, that she really can look forward to a good life with this monster. But finally, on her wedding day, with her face broken and eye swollen completely shut, she flees the monster that is her fiancé and takes off across country to her aunt in Golden, Oregon. Like Julia, the town itself is broken by the closing of the mills and factories, leaving the citizens who stay impoverished but still proud. Still rallying around one another. None so much as four very special friends.
Gaining the safety of her Aunt Lydia and her friends in Golden, Julia soon settles in. Though she still has violent, terrifying nightmares, and fears she suffers a “Dread Disease” that causes her to have attacks which leave her breathless and exhausted, she slowly begins to feel safe in the company of Lydia and Caroline, Lara and Katie, a diverse group of women with their own issues and agonies, laughter and pain. Caroline, tiny and poor, living off vegetable sales and psychic readings. Lara, wife of the town minister whom she adores, but who is over stressed and underappreciated, the daughter of a cruel and arrogant minister who preaches hellfire and damnation to all who don’t bow down before his wrath – including his own tormented children. And Katie, who runs her own cleaning business and raises her four children while her useless, abusive drunk of a husband steals her money, terrorizes her children and steps out with other women to her face. Together, they make up a band of some of the strongest, most eccentric, most lovable characters I have ever “met.” As others have said, you can certainly compare the book in many ways to The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. However, in my mind this book is much more. These women have come together from diverse backgrounds, meeting at stages of their life where they are each fighting their own personal battles of the soul.
But don’t let me lead you to believe that this is a “Debbie Downer” of a book – not at all. As I mentioned earlier, I literally laughed till tears ran down my cheeks at the antics of these women and their friends. Who can’t get a kick out of “Breast Power Psychic Night?” And while as a whole they may not have any reason to hold any affection for men (well, except for Lydia, who has been courted by the same man for the last twenty years) there are some wonderful male characters to offset the true monsters of the tale. Yes, there is horror to be had by the boatloads. Sanctimonious ‘church ladies’ with spiteful, viperous tongues, filled with gossip and sanctimony. Cruel drunks. Child abusers, alcoholics, drug addicts and pedophiles. All make their appearances, and affect the lives of our beloved ladies. But Lamb uses a deft hand in her development of the friendships of this little band of women into something that brings not only joy and laughter, but also a bright light of hope into some very dark places. There are dark moments – but the bright soon overcomes the dark, pulling these wonderful characters together into a book that no one, even the testosterone powered, should miss.
I. Loved. This. Book. I really did. It hurt sometimes – I have a lot in common with these women, and truly felt their pain, down deep where I have packed away my own. I pulled these people into my heart, and though it did hurt in spots, it also made me feel wonderful to meet this rowdy, broken bunch of women. I was interesting to me that other reviewers “didn’t connect” with the characters. I suppose they should be happy that they didn’t – anyone who has no experience with how truly horrific life can be at times should thank their lucky stars that this is so I suppose. As I watched Julia, with her huge boobs, wild hair, and horrific background grow into her personal power I urged her on, watching with great happiness as she opened herself up to not only her own faults, but to her power as well. As for me, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. There is great love and joy to be found – the love of self, of friends, of children and of life itself. I came to Ms. Lamb’s work late (this book was originally published in 2007) but now that I have found her work, I will be looking forward to reading more!
When I was asked by Hachette Book Group to review Anna Sullivan’s Hideaway Cove: A Windfall Island Novel, I wanted to do it for a couple of reasons. First, the whole Hachette v. Amazon thing I find to be incredibly irritating as Amazon puffs itself up and tries to take over control of ideas, attempting to place a stranglehold on e-book distribution. That really ticks me off, and Hachette gets my support for the stand they are taking against the huge gorilla in the room that Amazon has turned into.
The second, of course, is the fact that the concept of the book was interesting, as a young single mother, Jessica Randal, attempts to save her son Benjamin, Benji for short, from the attacks that have occurred against the citizens of Windfall Island which leave her son in grave danger. Of course, as this is mostly a romance, there is the tall, handsome stranger, Holden “Hold” Abbot, who is in town working on a genealogy project that could answer all the questions, as well as putting Benji and his mother in grave danger.
I liked that there was a sharp edge of suspense in the book, which brings it up above the common and garden ‘met the guy, bang the guy, marry the guy’ trope. Both Hold and Jessi have their trust issues, falling over each other in their attempt to protect themselves from any more emotional damage. And of course, Jessi is determined to protect her son – sometimes to a fault. As the book moves further along, the action and aforementioned suspense ratchet up to a razor’s edge, keeping me reading to the end.
The opposite side of the coin is that this is, as I figured out by the end of the first chapter, the second in a new series for Anna Sullivan, which caused me to be lost for, literally, the whole first half of the book. The slanting references to happenings in the past are utilized with no clarification, which was massively confusing and irritating as well. There are a lot of series out there that you can pick up at any point and get a concise update on what is going on, from the view of the previous book(s), in such a manner as to bring you into the ‘loop’ of the story without rehashing the whole series. This book doesn’t give you any guidelines. Instead, we are apparently supposed to have read the first book in order to understand what is going on in this one. That fact, to be honest, would have kept me from finishing the book once I had gotten into the third chapter and still couldn’t figure out what was going on. However, as this was a requested read, I stuck it out, though I admit to skimming through a major portion of the book. It simply couldn’t hold my attention because I was so lost. Who was Eugenie, why was someone trying to kill any great grandchildren she may or may not have still living, or was it grandchildren of this Eugenie or just what the heck was going on anyway? The prolog gave you a happening in 1931 or so that I suppose was supposed to give you all the clues you needed, but the fact that there was no modern day clarification meant the questions were annoying and kept me from enjoying the book as much as I could have.
Overall, if you are willing to purchase the previous book, Temptation Bay, you will be much better equipped to pick up this volume of the series and actually enjoy it from the beginning. The blurb for the book is rather disingenuous as well, as the book is much more about Jessica and her relationship with her son and the lengths she will go to in order to protect him rather than simply about the ‘love interest’ Holden getting what he wants. The HEA is there, of course, and I suppose the blurb will pull in “strictly romance” readers, but if you are fond of a suspense with a strong thread of romance versus the opposite, this may be a series you will want to give a read. From the first book, of course.
I received this book from the Forever (Grand Central Publishing) arm of Hachette Books. All opinions are my own and are not based on my receipt of the book from the publishers.
When Paranormal Investigation Bureau agent Bluebell Kildare (a.k.a. Blue) arrives at the scene of the crime it is obvious the grotesquely damaged body of the deceased teenage boy was caused by far more than a simple hit and run. Using her innate sixth sense, she locates a powerful magical artifact that acts as a key to an ancient Grimiore and is likely the motive for the crime. She soon discovers the Grimiore has a dark past as it was instrumental in the creation of the Vampire breed and still holds the power to unravel the boundaries between hell and earth.
Blue and her faithful wolf Varg follow the trail starting at the Cock and Bull Tap and all through the town of Crimson Hollow, which leads to plenty of dead ends; some more dead than others. Between being sidelined by a stalker that sticks to the shadows, and chasing a perpetrator that vanishes in thin air, things are getting complicated. Dark vampire activity is at an all time high and hate group activity is increasing. However, it’s her burgeoning feelings for Jack Tanner, her sexy Daylight Vampire boss, who alternates between warm affection and cool indifference that just might undo her.
While Blue searches for clues to nail the perpetrator, someone seems to be conducting a search of their own and things are getting extremely messy. Who will find whom first?
Danger lurks in every corner and Blue needs all her focus in this increasingly dangerous game or she risks ending up the next victim.
This book has an active discussion group on Facebook for those who have finished reading it.
Bluebell Kildare Book 1: The Light Who Shines
Lilo has invited you to the event: Book Fundraiser: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: The Light Who Shines (Urban Fantasy).
Date: May 16, 2014 12:00AM
Location: The United States Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Book Fundraiser
The Light Who Shines
What you may not know about Leukemia and Lymphoma.
They are blood cancers and often target children, even infants, even babies in the womb! Blood cancers are the most common type of cancer children face.
I will be working on editing all day today, but I wanted to give you something to think about while I am gone for a bit. The Pinterest posts below touched me, heart and soul. I hope they will also garner your interest, and give you something to think about. Women are pretty darn wonderful – and they get no respect. . . and Native Tribes? Well, we know what happened there.
“The books the world calls immoral, are books that show the world its own shame.” Oscar Wilde
“Street Child is not for the faint of heart…” – Nicole Broduer, THE SEATTLE TIMES (Article)
Street Child is the true story of a young boy who runs away from his increasingly dysfunctional and violent family. Placed into state custody at ten years old, his journey in foster care and survival takes many drastic turns until he finds safety with similar peers on the seedy streets of Seattle and San Francisco. While dodging serial killers (Green River Killer) and pedophiles, including a juvenile court judge who oversees his custody, these children develop credulous bonds while trying to protect each other amidst the increasingly dangerous elements.
Author Justin Reed Early takes you on a journey into a life where children become victims and victims become criminals. He brings intimate clarity to real life characters through authentic interactions with frequent devastating outcomes.
Many of the children in Street Child, including the author were featured in the documentary STREETWISE, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
Street Child is a journey no child should ever endure.
When Gabriella falls from the villainous Dream Master’s bag, Lore Valley will be forever changed.
Gabriella is no ordinary fairy. With iridescent wings, bells at the tips of her toes, and an impression of a wand coloring her forehead, her appearance alone sets her apart. Intrigued, the fairies welcome her with open arms, but as she grows up, some of her behavior disturbs the residents of the Lore Valley. Queen Pasha, in particular, worries that Gabriella may not have arrived in the valley accidentally. Could she be part of the Dream Master’s plan to destroy the fairies?
Full of quirky characters living in a whimsical world that the maniacal Dream Master seeks to destroy, this novel takes the reader on a roller coaster of emotions as Gabriella explores the Lore Valley and then the greater world beyond it when she takes it upon herself to confront the world’s most formidable creature.
From oddball bats to ghost cats, trolls to polka-dotted hens, Sirens to rouge eagles, you will find characters both lovable and treacherous within the pages of this book. Many of the characters have tidbits of wisdom to impart while others will amuse you with unique approach to the world.
First off, I wanted to like this book more than I wound up doing. The idea of the story was good. SEALS are different than regular humans, almost supermen in a way. However, they are also very self centered, focused, and self-involved. For very good and understandable reasons, of course. I always love a story where they are put forward in a good light, with understanding of who and what they are and how important it is that they aren’t people to be ‘changed’ but rather to be accepted. Not that they are prefect, by a long shot, but certainly necessary to the world as it is today.
I will admit that part of me completely understood Jax. He came from a background of wealth, but also of neglect, and lost his only friend young, a friend whose family had been there for him when no one else was. However, for most of the book, I would have been just as happy to hit him over the head with a brick. And still would be happy to do so in a way.
Jax went into a marriage for the most shallow of reasons – a leggy, shallow female who appealed to his sex drive but whom he had absolutely no sense of connection to other than what happened in the bedroom. And, as with lust, that faded even more quickly than any sort of connection. Within a year the wife has had a child and left him, only to pass away within four years, leaving their son with his grandmother. In some cases, being with a grandmother is the perfect solution, and as Jax really doesn’t care to be a parent anyway, well, heck, that works, right? Only his Commander’s insistence sends Jax to North Carolina to spend time with a boy he apparently doesn’t want or need in his life. His only point to spending time with his son is to get there, get the kid out of his life, and get on with being a SEAL.
Of course, in true ‘romance novel’ style, he comes to learn that he really does want the boy in his life, but NOT if it interferes with his SEAL life. So, he fully intends to send the boy back to his grandmother, and, this is where he really ticks me off – even though he knows full well that the grandmother is a drunk who is cruel to the boy at every opportunity. That doesn’t matter as much to him as getting back to his “real” life. Bzzz! Can we all say ‘self-centred jerk”?
Yes, it all works out in the end, and if it weren’t for Tyler, the son, and the fact that I really liked Pickett as much as I did, well. Let’s just say the book would be rolling around in the 1-star galaxy. Pickett, the female lead, is soft and warmhearted, but also strong and in control of her own life, even though she has allowed her family to convince her she is not up to the ‘quality’ of their particularly stylish family. I got her, and liked and admired her. Tyler came to the story withdrawn and in incredible pain, with a dead mother, a vituperate grandmother, and a father who looks at him as just another soldier, expected to snap to and behave as any other soldier under his command while they were together. And of course, as he only planned to spend the required 30-days with his son, he couldn’t wait to get it over with so he could get back to SEAL life and forget his responsibilities as a parent. It was deeply painful to watch their interactions during the first half of the book, even when Pickett, the child and family counselor, was doing her level best to show him what a complete and total screw up he was as a parent… gently, of course.
There were a lot of other things that bothered me about the book, technical issues that I doubt anyone would notice but me. “Tyler’s old DOD 1332.30” . . . hum…. The 1332.30 is “for the administrative separation of commissioned officers of the Regular Army, Regular Navy, Regular Air Force, or Regular Marine Corps for substandard performance of duty, an act or acts of misconduct, moral or professional dereliction, in the interest of national security, and for the discharge of regular commissioned officers with less than 5 years active commissioned service in certain circumstances.” Hummmm again. So, his Commander had his “old 1332.30” on his desk? A 1332.30 was already previously filed, but Jax is now command personnel, even thought he was previously kicked out of the military for dereliction of some sort? Well, he was certainly derelict in his duties as a father, but that is neither here nor there. It drives me round the bend when authors try to be all knowledgeable about what they are writing about – and even though they quote their “sources” they screw up so badly.
Additionally, I am always disappointed when authors don’t take advantage of beta readers and editors in order to ascertain that their books are error free. Though not as bad as some of the books I have recently read (or, should I say, tried to read) the book needs a good cleaning up of missing and misused words and spelling. Disappointing.
Overall, the Jax character was a bit too much on the selfish side, even for a SEAL, to not irritate me beyond any ability to come to like him in the end. Actually, I would have liked the book better without the Jax character in it. Of course, it wouldn’t have been a romance per-se so would lose a large part of it’s audience, but if the author had made it a story of Pickett taking in a parentless child and the development of the two of them as a family, I think this could have easily been at least four, if not five, stars.