Book Review: The Knitter’s Dictionary – A Must Have For Knitters

Knitter’s Dictionary

Knitting Know-How From A To Z

By Kate Atherley

Kate Atherley’s newest book The Knitter’s Dictionary, is a must have for fledgling as well as seasoned knitters. Her no nonsense, easy-to-read information about everything from alpaca to wool and everything in between will keep your needles busy creating successful projects.

There are so many interesting and informative tidbits in this little book, it is difficult for me to choose my favorites, but I have finally narrowed it down. At the top of the list is the comprehensive section on gauge. I know that gauge is the part of knitting most knitters hate. Seems like a waste of time – until the garment you have spent a month making is either too small, too large, too long or way too short. Knitters know you should always swatch for gauge. Atherley goes further to explain how to correct needle size and/or yarn type depending upon how your gauge is off to ensure your finish project is perfect.

There is great advice for choosing the perfect yarn for your project. Each fiber gives feel and strength info as well as additional information to keep problems to a minimum. For example, Possum yarn (from Australia, not the United States Opossum!) is warm, soft but can be pilly. It is not a strong fiber when used alone. I can confirm that description 100%. I purchased some of this yarn and created a beautiful shawl that is warm and soft. But working with it was a challenge do to the tendency of the yarn to simply pull apart.

Lastly, I loved the section on sweaters. The illustrations are detailed and the descriptions include shaping and the actual fit of the different types of sweaters. Atherley’s detailed definitions are easy to understand and inspire knitters of all levels to push themselves a little bit further then they may have thought possible.

If you need one more nudge to get this terrific book, The Knitter’s Dictionary is the perfect size, 8 inches by 6 inches. It will easily slip into your project bag or purse. Since the holidays will soon be upon us, you just might want to purchase two; one for yourself and one for one of your knitting buddies.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Bookish and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

 

 

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Book Review: Honolulu Heat – New Mystery by Rosemary and Larry Mild

Honolulu Heat

By Rosemary and Larry Mild

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Honolulu Heat opens with the Wong family enjoying another beautiful day at home in the paradise of Kauai. Suddenly a hurricane warning is broadcasted, changing the course of their lives forever. The family of three becomes four as the neighbors were away for the day, leaving their young son with the Wongs. They never made it home in the storm, so Noah became theirs.

The family moves to Oahu to be with extended family as their home in Kauai is currently uninhabitable. They are happy in Oahu and decide to make it their home. Noah grows up with love and family, but as soon as he becomes a teenager his rebellious nature lands him in trouble.

It starts out as small infractions. He is involved in tussles with other kids, troubles at school and disobedience at home. But there is another side to him. He is loyal to his adopted family extended family and cares about what they think of him. Unfortunately, the influence of some of his friends will soon put him on a collision course with the law.

Finding himself on the run after his involvement with a murder, Noah ends up in Chinatown tangled up with both a mob boss and an extortionist, both of whom have killed many before and are in a turf war that Noah unwittingly is a part of.

Noah has no place to run or hide, but when he finds out that someone he cares about may be killed, he has to try and get back to someone that will believe in him enough to help stop the violence. Risking everything, he has to prevent another murder or die trying.

Honolulu Heat is a like Scared Straight on steroids. Noah makes bad choices like any kid his age, but basically he is a good kid. He feels guilty about the trouble he has brought to his family as well as his girlfriend.

There are interesting subplots. The lives of the mobster and crime boss are woven into the story adding more and more tension until the last pages where the authors tie up the storylines in a satisfying end.

I like the style of writing of this husband and wife team. The setting of the Hawaiian Islands is interesting and fun to read about. It is the second book I have read from these authors, but the first in this series. The story itself worked well as a standalone novel. I was confused at times trying to keep track of the the number of characters introduced. Honolulu Heat is the follow up novel to Cry Ohana and features the same characters.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: The Ghost Photographer – Cosmic Journey of Self Discovery

The Ghost Photographer A Hollywood Executive Discovers the Real World of Make-Believe

By Julie Riuger

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher/author in connection with Killer Nashville in return for my review. Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

The Ghost Photographer takes the reader along on Julie Rieger’s cosmic course of self-discovery. Her journey of is not always an easy choice, but she jumps in with both feet willing to take the ride wherever it takes her. But her newly found psychic powers allow her to be at peace with herself and others. Isn’t that about all anyone can ask for?

Julie is often bawdy, funny and willing to share both the good and bad parts of her life with her readers. She explores the reason for her grief, but realizes grief comes to others in different forms that are just as devastating as the loss of her mother was to her. She knows she needs to dig deeper to figure out the person she will be now that she is really on her own for the first time in her life.

Her journey begins when she discovers pictures of ghosts in photographs she has taken. (The pictures are included at the end of the book for you to decide for yourself). She works to develop her psychic gifts with close friends who have clairvoyant abilities. She also references famous people who were prophetic, second-sighted and/or were precognitive. They include Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill to name a few.

The thing that may surprise readers about Julie is her reliance on religion throughout her journey. She repeats how often she uses the power of prayer to protect herself and others from evil spirits. It should not surprise us that good and evil go hand in hand, and protecting yourself with a higher power is often necessary when delving into the unknown. There are a few things that might give you goose bumps. The chapter about “Old Scratch”, whom the Bible says is a stand in for the devil, is pretty creepy.

This is a very interesting, funny and thought provoking book. It is fast to read and full of things that you may or may not believe could ever happen. If so, take it at face value for your entertainment. That is okay, it is Julie’s journey to document and share. If you are a fan of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert or Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Sheryl Strayed you need to read this book. Journey and self-discovery comes to different people in different ways, each of them unique and interesting to read about.

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Book Review: Long Road to Mercy – Baldacci’s New Series Not to Be Missed

Long Road to Mercy

By David Baldacci

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher/author in connection with Killer Nashville in return for my review. Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

FBI special Agent Atlee Pine is a loner. She specifically requested an assignment in a tiny office in Shattered Rock, just outside of the Grand Canyon. Pine began her life as a team with her twin sister, but no longer works well with others. Just her and her administrative assistant are perfect for her loner lifestyle. She doesn’t mind hard work or long hours. As a matter of fact it suits her well, leaving less time to think about the serial killer that abducted and most likely killed her twin sister Mercy when they were young children.

Pine gets a call that there is a missing person and a dead mule at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. A missing person is not that unusual. Hikers wander off and go missing, but it is extremely unusual to have someone from a group disappear leaving a dead mutilated mule in his wake. As Pine begins investigating she begins to see the disappearance is just the tip of the iceberg in a much bigger plot with huge ramifications.

It sounds like an impossible riddle:  What do the Grand Canyon, a dead mule, the Russian and Korean governments, a possible kidnapping and/or murder and a lone FBI Agent have in common? Baldacci weaves an intricate tale full of action, adventure and intrigue. His characters travel the United States in their quest to find the truth, trying to live long enough for justice to prevail.

I have read many books by Baldacci, and am very excited to find he has begun this new series featuring Atlee Pine. She is a character that has many sides and secrets. Some of them are hers, and some are truths that have been kept from her. I am anxious to find out more.

Baldacci’s latest page-turning thriller lives up to his reader’s expectations and beyond. It is hard pressed to find anyone who has not heard of this award winning, NYT Best Selling author. There is a reason for the accolades; his books are complex yet easy to read. I learned more interesting facts about the Grand Canyon than I’ve heard before, making me want to visit the only one of the Seven Natural Wonders that is located in the United States.

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Book Review: A Christmas Revelation – A New Holiday Novella

A Christmas Revelation

By Anne Perry

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

London 1868. Nine-year-old Worm knows what hunger and cold feels like. His life has gotten a bit better, he no longer lives on the streets but in a free clinic for women of dubious occupations. Squeaky, the bookkeeper, has a past that will forever haunt him, but for some reason has a soft spot for Worm that he tries hard not to let show. But when Worm comes home and tells him a beautiful girl has been taken by a couple of ruffians, he gets drawn into the mystery and danger that he worked so hard to get away from.

Squeaky tried to dissuade Worm from searching for the taken girl by telling him that Christmas was in a few days. The boy has heard the church bells on Christmas day, but did not know anything else about the celebration. Squeaky pulled out old memories, and successfully convinced Worm that they could pull off a celebration for the staff and current residents of the clinic. The good news was Worm was very excited to help with decorations and the tantalizing descriptions of the Christmas feast made his mouth water. But the bad news for Squeaky is that Worm is still determined to help the girl and cannot let it go.

So begins a journey for the both of them, winding through the worst parts of London in the darkest of winter nights. First they have to find her, which was not an easy thing to do. Against all odds they locate her and even manage to speak with her. She claims she is not being forced to remain with the two men, but Worm does not believe her. In order to free her, the unlikely duo has to pull in favors from unsavory characters, go places no child should ever see and risk their lives.

Perry’s characters come alive on the pages. Victorian Christmas traditions are masterfully woven throughout the mystery of the beautiful woman to lighten up the intensity of the story. Squeaky and Worm, along with the rest of the staff of the clinic decorate, plan the menu and even have time to search out a special gift for the special day.

The story is one of hope and redemption, even in the toughest of times. The characters are scruffy and often thought of as lower class. They may not have money but they do have the important qualities that matter most. They care about each other and strangers, share what they have even if it isn’t much and find happiness within the world they live in.

This is an unusual Christmas story, but one that will become a favorite.  I am a fan of all things Christmas and it was refreshing to read a novel with a new twist on the age old story of love and redemption.

Internationally renowned, award winning author Anne Perry is best known for her Historical novels; most noted are the Monk Series and Pitt Series. She began writing annual Christmas novellas in 2003, and has written one every year since, including The Christmas Revelation available November 9, 2018. This is the first Christmas novella I have read by Perry, but have enjoyed many of her other books. I encourage you to read A Christmas Revelation; it is a quick and thoughtful Christmas tale that will leave you thinking about the story and characters this holiday season.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Knockout Knit Hats and Hoods – Perfect for a Quick Gift!

Knockout Knit Hats and Hoods

By Diane Serviss

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Knitters – grab your needles! Diane Serviss has created a collection of knit hats and hood patterns that will make you race to your stash or local yarn shop. There are patterns for every style, each with explicit, easy to read instructions that novice knitters as well as seasoned veterans of the craft can enjoy.

Her introduction, How to Use This Book is straightforward and easy to comprehend no matter what your level of knitting is. She explains how to make changes in needle size to accommodate different knitter’s gauge as well as the different types of needles available and how each is used differently.  Yarn substitution guides will help when you are using stash yarn – which is the yarn that all knitters have in the house from other projects as well as some perfect yarn we had to buy but haven’t used yet.

The pictures of each of the 30 hats and hoods are featured before the patterns. When you choose a pattern, if there are special stitches involved, detailed instructions are included. For example, the Red Vine Cable Beanie (on my list to make) includes Right twist (RT) with a paragraph of instructions on the stitch if you are unfamiliar with it. Additionally, there is a reference section at the end of the book with pictures and step-by-step instructions from casting on to binding off and everything in between.

I chose to knit the Wildflower Fields Beanie. Using some stash yarn I completed it in less than two days. It was fast, easy and turned out perfect. As a member of the Fox Valley Knitters Guild, I participate in Charity Challenges each month. October we are knitting hats and scarves for the Elgin Community Crisis Center ( www.crisiscenter.org), so I was excited to find this beautiful, quick pattern to knit up and donate. I hope to finish a few more before our next meeting.

Whatever your style is, you will find the perfect pattern in this book. It is available on October 1, 2018, just in time to begin holiday knitting. I know more than one of these beautiful hats will find its way under our Christmas tree this year.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Glitter Bomb – Cute Crafty Cozy Mystery

9-25-18

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Penguin First to Read in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Carmela is crazy busy at Memory Mine, her scrapbooking and graphic design business. Everything is hopping with all of the Mardi Gras hoopla going on. But she is not all business; in fact, she and her bestie Ava are front and center for the Pluvius parade, known for fabulous floats created by “krewes” that have been together for years. This year’s overall theme is “Spirits of the Sea”.

As the crowd swells, beads are thrown and bands blare. Everyone is having a great time until one of the floats begins to wobble, then rumble, and then explodes spewing an eruption of glitter and krewe members into the crowd, one of whom is Carmela’s ex-husband Shamus. Carmela and Ava have a front row seat, and are first to get to the man most seriously injured. The EMTs arrive, but to no avail. Hughes Wilder is dead.

Was this a tragic accident or murder? Carmela’s sort of fiancé, Detective Edgar Babcock, arrives at the scene to investigate. Carmela’s mind is already churning with a list of likely suspects. Babcock warns her not to get involved, but both of them know it is futile. Carmela can’t resist poking around when someone gets blown up right before her eyes.

Ava is Carmela’s willing accomplice, accompanying Carmela to various social events to help her get the skinny on the suspect list they have compiled. They still don’t know who killed Wilder, but there seem to be plenty of people that hated him enough to kill him. The problem is the murderer is on to them. Things really start heating up when someone targets Carmela and Ava. Babcock insists they stop investigating before one of them gets hurt or worse. But will Carmela listen?

The characters are interesting and easy to like. They do things that anyone might do in New Orleans, with the exception of amateur sleuthing. Carmela, Babcock, Ava and Shamus are the perfect foundation to balance the various supporting characters.

This crafty cozy mystery is full of action, humor and fun in one of America’s most vibrant cities. New Orleans is the perfect backdrop for murder and merriment and this book has both. I stayed in the French Quarter for a fabulous week a few years ago and was delighted to read about the characters visiting familiar places. One of my favorites is Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, so I was delighted to read the chapter that featured this historic last resting place of many New Orleans residents.

Childs adds scrapbook tips and recipes at the end of the book. The tips are handy if you are new to scrap-booking and the recipes (based upon meals in the book) all look delicious.

New York Times Best-Selling author Laura Childs writes several cozy mystery series, including this Scrapbook Mystery Series. Glitter Bomb is the 15th book in the series. It is the first one I’ve read, and it worked perfectly as a stand-alone mystery. But I am adding the rest of the Scrapbook Mystery Series books to my wish list for Christmas.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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