Monthly Archives: December 2019

Book Review: Margeau Chapeau, A New Perspective on Classic Knit Hats – Enter to Win a Copy!

Margeau Chapeau

A new perspective on classic knit hats

By: Margeau Soboti

Avid and sometime knitters alike have most likely created at least one handknit gift for the holidays. When the New Year begins, it is often time to cast on new projects either for yourself or someone you love. Margeau Chapeau is the perfect answer to the question: “What will I make next?”

Ms. Soboti has designed over a dozen knit hat patterns that range from easy to challenging patterns. Hat knitting is the perfect project to practice new techniques. The small size enables you to try new things such as Fair Isle, Brioche, Chevron or cables. Let’s be honest, learning something new usually involves a bit of trial and error. It is much easier to start again on a small project if necessary than a huge project like a sweater.

The patterns range in skill level from easy to intermediate. Each one lists the suggested yarns, most of which are worsted or bulky with a few specialty yarns like a mohair blend or alpaca. Of course, you can always change the yarn you use, but be sure to check your gauge and adjust the needle size accordingly.

Each pattern not only gives you the level of skill needed, size of needles, gauge and suggested yarn, but also includes measurements of the final project. The step by step instructions are clear and easy to follow. Conveniently, the stitch glossary is included for each individual pattern so you don’t have to bounce back and forth from the pattern to the glossary pages.

Dover Publications  has graciously offered to give a copy to one of my readers. To enter into the drawing, “like” this post on FB  or on my blog, https://writeknit.wordpress.com/. If you leave a comment on either FB (laura.hartman.96 ) or my blog, I will add 2 extra entries in the drawing for you. If you “like” and comment on both, you will have 6 chances to win if you like and comment on both FB and writeknit. The winner will be chosen  and announced on January 10, 2020. Dover Publications will mail the book directly to the winner. Good Luck!

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

 

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Book Review: Knitting Notions – Adult Coloring Book for Knitters

Knitting Notions

Adult Coloring Book

By: Jessica Mazurkiewicz

The fun but stressful season of parties, presents and perpetual motion is over for another year. It is the perfect time to take a deep breath and relax. There is no better way to relax than grabbing some colored pencils, crayons or markers and lose yourself in the Knitting Notions Coloring Book.

 Anyone can use the complexly patterned pages to relax, especially knitters. Each page has yarn and yarn related images. It is the perfect way to play with color before casting on your New Year’s knitting projects. Mixing colors in knitting is part of the joy and individualism of a project. But knitters know there is nothing more frustrating than completing a project that has taken hours to create and find out the colors just don’t work. Experimenting with color on the pages of this coloring book just makes sense. And is really fun.

I highly recommend Knitting Notions Coloring Book. The images are fun I guarantee they will stimulate the colorist inside of you to branch out and try new combinations and color palettes.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: You’re Not Listening – When Was Your Last Real Conversation?

You’re Not Listening

By Kate Murphy

When was the last time you really listened to someone? Not just nodding while someone talks, but by putting down electronic devices, turning off the television or radio and actually listen to the person sitting across from you or on your phone. Ms. Murphy contends for most of us it has been a long time since we have really listened and participated in a conversation. This has reached crisis levels for both the listener as well as the person talking.

Humans crave interaction with others. Sadly, we are now interacting more with texts, emails and snapchats instead of talking with each other. Murphy reminds us that when we have conversations, we see the expressions on the speaker’s face as well as the inflection and emotion behind the words. Your phone or computer cannot give you the meanings behind the words. Emojis will never replace true human emotions. Her research shows as much as 38% of feelings and attitudes are conveyed by tone of voice and non-verbal cues make up for “more than half of the emotional content of the message…”. Just thinking about what we are missing by glancing at our phone or reading our email while talking to friends and family.

You’re Not Listening is profound in a gentle way. Behind all of the facts and research is the most interesting non-fiction book I have read in years. The tender nudging for all of us to become better listeners is the persistent message throughout the pages.

Instead of arguing a point during a conversation, actually listen to the speaker’s points of view. Per Murphy: “To listen does not mean, or even imply, that you agree with someone. It simply means you accept the legitimacy of the other’s person’s point of view and that you might have something to learn from it”. To learn is to grow, and how can we learn if we aren’t listening?

This book is interesting, easy and quick to read. But the information imparted to me is priceless. I find myself thinking of the listening recommendations and actually taking time to really talk to others, both people I know and perfect strangers and then actually listening to them.

If you only read one non-fiction book this year, choose You’re Not Listening. It will take you back to a gentler time when we actually spoke and listened to others. Humans by nature want and need to communicate. Start listening, really listening to others and you will not only enrich their lives, but you will greatly improve yours.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Bookish First in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Coming Home for Christmas – Heartwarming Story of Love and Redemption

Coming Home for Christmas

By RaeAnne Thayne

Luke Hamilton is going to jail unless he can prove he did not murder his missing wife. Ironically, he has recently found her. The good news is she is alive and well so he cannot be arrested. The bad news is the woman he has loved for years chose to leave him and her two young children behind seven years ago without a word. A private investigator confirmed that Elizabeth is alive and Luke was going to leave her alone until he realized he had to bring her home long enough to prove she is not dead and he is not a murderer.

Elizabeth understands, but is terrified. Many things have changed in her life since she walked out on her family. She has another life, but has secretly caught glimpses of her family during the last few years. She would love nothing more than spending time with her children, but understands Luke’s protectiveness because of the pain she has caused by leaving them.

Luke is determined to get the entire situation taken care of in a few days. Unfortunately, Christmas is just around the corner and the feelings that he has for his wife have never really changed. Yes, he is angry, but he loves her. It will take a Christmas miracle to bring this broken family back together after all they have been through.

Coming Home for Christmas is a heartwarming story of love and redemption. The holiday setting enhances the sense of magic in the air. The underlying mystery of where and why Elizabeth has been for the last seven years is woven throughout the pages until the reader finally gets the last pieces of the puzzle in the final chapters. The mystery of her disappearance adds another layer to an already interesting plot that I thoroughly enjoyed.

This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Thayne, who is a prolific romance writer. She has written several different romance series, including the Haven Point series, of which Coming Home for Christmas is #10. Even though I had not read the previous books in the series, I was never confused or lost. It works well as a stand-alone novel. I really enjoyed this Christmas romance with a bit of mystery. If you are a fan of Debbie Macomber, you will love this book and author.

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. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Never Talk to Ravens: Perfect Life Lessons Without Preaching for Young Readers

Never Talk To Ravens

By M. L. Furry

After a bit of teasing from his friends about how big his feet grew over the summer, Xavion snapped. He knew better than to fight with his friends, but he was tired of the comments. Giant feet were great for jumping, but people were always tripping over them and Xavion was super tired of hearing about them. So, when his friend shouted names at him on the playground, he fought back by yelling “four-eyes” at one of his friends with glasses.

Xavion felt bad as soon as he said it, but Mrs. Barnes heard him, so he is stuck in time-out for five recesses in a row. He got tired of watching the other kids play and decided to rest. Falling asleep quickly, he was awakened by a kangaroo tugging on his sleeve. Confused, Xavion thought the he might be dreaming.

Soon he finds out the kangaroo’s name is Jamieson; he is straight from Australia and needs Xavion’s help. Each day, during recess, Jamieson returns to Xavion and tells him about how he got tricked by some Ravens and really wants to get back home. Between the two of them, they hatch a plan.

Never Talk To Ravens is an engaging and entertaining illustrated chapter book for kids ages 7 to 10 to enjoy. The focus on kindness, helping others and actions leading to consequences are important issues for children to understand and work through. I really love that Never Talk to Ravens allows children to understand the concepts of the issues, yet does not bonk them over the head “do this, not that”. It allows kindness and helping others to subtly sink in as children read the story.

I really enjoyed the story, characters and message in Never Talk to Ravens. It is perfect for the age group intended. If you have younger children, they would most likely enjoy you reading it to them. I am excited to see it is the first book in the Xavion and Jamieson Adventure Series.

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. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Murder, She Encountered – Fun and Informative Historical Cozy Mystery

12.25.19Murder, She Encountered

By Peg Cochran

Elizabeth Adams, is a woman before her time. She is a crime photographer at the Daily Trumpet in New York City and works closely with veteran crime reporter Ralph Kaminsky. Today no one would blink an eye at a woman photographer, but in 1939 that is virtually unheard of. She is a career woman when almost all women married and stayed home to raise children.

The reporter and his photographer are on the way to the World’s Fair, where a robbery has just been committed. But when they arrive to get the details for a story, a dead body is found. Is this crime connected to the robbery or is it unrelated? Both Biz (as Kaminsky calls Elizabeth) and Kaminsky are on the trail. The story takes them in and around the World’s Fair as well as New York City.

While working the clues to the crimes at the World’s Fair, Kaminsky has a health scare. Unlike other women of the day, Elizabeth jumps right into the investigation, much to everyone else’s dismay. They might just be right when she puts herself in danger. Hopefully the reporter and his favorite photographer will live to write another story.

All of the details Cochran adds to this historical cozy mystery are fascinating. From the nickel and dime subway rides to the high heels Elizabeth wears to crime scenes, the reader is pulled into the past. The setting of this novel is brilliant. Bodies among the new inventions that we now consider relics of our past really pulls the reader into the past and the story. I love learning new facts about the World’s Fair that Cochran tucks in this perfect cozy mystery.

This is the third book in the Murder She Encountered Series. It is the first book I have read in the series, and I found it fun and interesting. I was not confused or lost by jumping in the middle of the series. It is also the first book I have read by the prolific cozy author, Peg Cochran. She is the author of several cozy mystery series. I am excited to read the others in this series.

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. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Back to Christmas – A Fun Holiday Frolic Full of Love and Redemption

Back to Christmas

By Dennis Canfield

The Krumwerth family is in deep trouble but they don’t even know it. Why you ask? Because they are on Santa’s naughty list for what will be the third year in a row. And everyone knows that that means they got on each other’s last nerve with bad behavior for the last time. After three years on the naughty list in a row, you are destined to be on it for all eternity. No more Christmas spirit and no way to get back on the nice list.

The head sorting elf, Marmel, gives Santa the bad news. But Santa is a compassionate man, he wants Marmel to give the Krumwerth’s one last chance for redemption, even though Marmel thinks it is futile.

The family is comprised of twelve-year-old Amanda, her younger brother Patrick and her always busy parents. All four of them are plugged in to electronics and tuned out of each other’s lives. Marmel appears to Amanda foretelling their future of hating Christmas due to landing on the forever naughty list. She is afraid, but what can a kid do to save Christmas? With the help of Santa’s younger brother RC, Marmel just might be able to help the Krumwerth Family and save himself while doing so.

Written as a children’s book, Back to Christmas brings the spirit of Christmas to all ages. Canfield reminds readers that the true gift of Christmas is the love, hope and charity surrounding the season, not the newest electronics or gift cards from the mall.

The characters are true to life and fun. Especially the elves and Santa’s younger brother. I would love to have some of his magic green cinnamon to help me wrangle penguins and get where I am going faster.

This adorable Christmas tale should be on everyone’s bookshelf or wish list. It will undoubtedly become a Christmas classic. Be sure to read the book before the movie (which will be fabulous) is optioned for the big screen.

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. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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