Posts Tagged With: Debbie Macomber

Knitting Diaries by Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery and Christina Skye

REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS!

Addition: Review e-book from netGalley

Genre: Female fiction, romance

Rating: 4 out of 5

This is a collection of short stories, written by prolific chick-lit authors Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery and Christina Skye.

Debbie Macomber

Knitting is a way of life: The Twenty-First Wish by Debbie Macomber

Anne Marie Roche and her adopted daughter, ten-year-old Ellen, have each written a list of twenty wishes – on which they included learning to knit. But Ellen has quietly added a twenty-first wish: that her mom will fall in love with Tim, Ellen’s birth father, who’s recently entered their lives…

This short story follows on from the Blossom Street stories. Anne Marie had recently adopted Ellen, a girl who had been bought up by her Grandma until her death. Ellen’s Dad – Tim, who didn’t know until he was a father until Ellen was adopted has been spending a lot of time with both his daughter and Anne Marie. Both adults developed feelings for each other but Tim had a fiancĂ©e. When she found out about Ellen, she went back to drinking, and Tim – a recovering alcohol left her. However, Anne Marie felt messed around Tim and decided to have nothing more to do with him. However, Ellen has one wish she has told no one – that Anne Marie and Tim fall in love. Will her wish come true?

I love Debbie Macomber, and I enjoyed this story. Sadly, it was too short! Macomber writes a lovely story about friendship, family and love. My favourite character was Ellen. She was cute and so likeable. She is passionate and just a delight to read. I think Macomber writes really warm, friendly characters and it is so easy to fall in love with them.

The ending was not a surprise – but it was so nice! I was satisfied and happy by the conclusion. The only problem with this story was it was too short. I love the Blossom Street series – the characters, the knitting and the friendship. I really hope Macomber writes another in this series.

Susan Mallery

Knitting is a passion: Coming Unraveled by Susan Mallery

When Robyn Mulligan’s dreams of becoming a Broadway star give way to longing for her childhood home, she returns to Texas, running her grandmother’s knitting store. But the handsome, hot-tempered T.J. Passman isn’t making it easy on her. If he can learn to trust Robyn, and overcome his tragic past, they just might discover a passion like no other. Susan’s story in this anthology is linked to her book ALREADY HOME (April 2011).

To be honest, I didn’t enjoy this story too much. It follows Robyn, a girl who had always dreamt of becoming a Broadway star. She leaves Texas for New York, but her dreams don’t come to anything. She returns to Texas when her Gran needs to go in for an operation. When she walks into the knitting shop she is greeted by an angry stare from a guy she has never met – T.J. After a short, hostile chat with him, she discovers he thinks she is a fraud, lying to her Gran and living off her money. He is wrong, but will she change his mind?

The problem I had with this story was it seemed really sex-driven. Every time T.J. and Robyn look at each other, Mallery seems compelled to describe all emotions and longings. It just made me bored and uncomfortable.

This is another love story with knitting thrown in. Again, the ending was predictable – but who doesn’t like a happy ending?! I thought Robyn’s Gran and her friends were lovely characters. They were funny and so caring. They were really supportive of Robyn, even after her acting career didn’t work out.

This is a nice story, ruined by too much talk about sex, and the longing for it.

Christina Skye

Knitting is a comfort: Return to Summer Island by Christina Skye

After a devastating car accident, Caro McNeal is welcomed by a community of knitters on Oregon’s sleepy Summer Island. She also finds meaning and purpose in the letters she exchanges with a marine serving in Afghanistan. But when life takes another unexpected turn, will Caro pick up the threads of hope, opening her heart to wherever it takes her?

Meet Caro. She loves knitting. When she isn’t working, she knits. That is, until she is hit by a car and her right arm is mashed. She will face a long time in a cast, and then physiotherapy – with no guarantees that she will ever be able to knit again. She leaves Chicago to recover and goes back to the home she grew up in, with her Gran. A chance visit by Gage Greyson changes her mindset and her road to recovery. He is off to Afghanistan – leaving his pets in the care of the local vet. Caro and Gage stay in contact, will it lead to love?

This is a nice love story. It is love not just for another person, but for knitting and animals. It is a story of recovery, patience and art. I thought Caro was a lovely character. She was so gutted by her accident – and so frustrated that she couldn’t knit – or do much in fact. Her mindset is changed by one lovely picnic, and the need to look after Gage’s two animals.

To be honest, this is not a realistic story. It is about love at first sight and long-distance army relationship. Of course this book had a happy ending, I just didn’t think any of this would happen. Gage is involved in a military attack, yet someone Caro’s Gran knows was able to tell her confidential information and get her to the base where Gage was taken after the attack. It was lovely, just unrealistic.

This is a nice collection of stories, based around knitting. The stories and writings are different. It was a nice, quick read – very enjoyable.


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50 Harbour Street by Debbie Macomber

Book Sort: Library Book

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

Considering that I’m married to Cedar Cove’s private investigator, you might think I enjoy mysteries. But I don’t — especially when they involve us! Roy and I have been receiving anonymous postcards and messages asking if we “regret the past.” We don’t know what they mean . . .

On a more positive note, we’re both delighted that our daughter, Linette, has moved to Cedar Cove to work at the new medical clinic. A while ago I attended the humane society’s “Dog and Bachelor Auction,” where I bought her a date with Cal Washburn, who works at Cliff Harding’s horse farm. Unfortunately Linette is less enthusiastic about this date than I am.

Speaking of Cliff, the romance between him and Grace Sherman is back on. But that’s only one of the many interesting stories here in Cedar Cove. So why don’t you drop by for a coffee at my husband’s office on Main Street or our House on Harbor and I’ll tell you everything that’s new!

Corrie

This is typical Debbie Macomber. This is number five in the Cedar Cover series and is in every way as good as the others. You could read this as a stand alone book as it does recap the general story lines from other books, but it does carry on nicely as part of this series.

The main focus of this book is the private investigator, and his wife – Roy and Corrie. They have been receiving mysterious gifts and postcards. They have concerned Corrie and Roy is struggling to find out who they are from. In other stories, Charlotte marries Ben, but is upset by her children wanting to check him out first, Olivia is concerned for Jack’s health – and when he ends up in hospital she sees she is right about his lifestyle and everything is a bit on-and-off with Cliff and Grace.

This book includes all the usual favourite characters and we continue to follow them through their lives in Cedar Cove. I don’t think I have a favourite, no one sticks out in my mind, but they are all nice and it is quite a gentle, friendly community they live in. It is idealistic but so what? It is nice reading.

Once Roy and Corrie’s daughter moved to the area and started making friends I quickly worked out who it was sending the anonymous notes and how the love story would pan out. I didn’t mind the predictability however. This is simple chick-lit that would make a good beach read. It is a lovely series to escape to and I always enjoy Macomber. This is a good book for those who like a light, quick, chick-lit read.

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Old Boyfriends by Debbie Macomber

old boyfriends

Waterstones Synopsis:

“She didn’t understand how she could lie beside him in bed night after night and dream about another man…”When Susannah Nelson turned eighteen, her parents sent her to school abroad. She said goodbye to her boyfriend, Jake – and never saw him again.Years later, Susannah finds herself regretting the paths not taken. Returning to her parents’ house and her girlhood friends, she also returns to the past – and discovers that things are not always as they once seemed…

This book is another in the Blossom Street series. In this book we are introduced to Susannah of Susannah’s Garden. The book is set before she buys the shop on Blossom Street. Her mission is to get her mother into assisted living accommodation and to go through the house of her parents. She is suffering from depression, which is leading her to regret things that happened in her life, such as losing the love of her life, Jake.

As ever, I enjoyed this book, but I do not think it is Macomber’s best, nor do I think it is the best in the Blossom Street series. I think Macomber deals with some hard issues, such as depression and the need to live in a nursing home, as well as dealing with past regrets and I think the storyline was good. However, there towards the end there was a twist I didn’t see coming, and to be honest, I didn’t believe. And that spoilt the story for me. The return of someone from her past was not believable at all. But because this occurred close to the end of the book I don’t think it ruined the book completely.

Macomber is very good at writing characters who I like and empathise with. I like Susannah. I didn’t always agree with her decisions but I understood where she came from and I felt for her with all the decisions she had to make. I think her mother was written well too – an elderly lady who was starting to suffer from memory loss. I think she sensitive and realistic. My favourite character however was Caroline – Susannah’s old school friend. She was focused and loyal and believable.

This is chick-lit, and for the most part a good read. It was easy to read and easy to get into, I was just disappointed with the ending.

7/10

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16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber

16 lighthouse road

Waterstones Synopsis:

Family court judge Olivia Lockhart has a failed marriage, a difficult relationship with her daughter, Justine, and a mother who has plenty of opinions and is always willing to share them. When Olivia denies a divorce in court, there is a frenzied reaction and, thanks to an article by Jack Griffin in the local paper,everyone’s talking about it. Cedar Cove – people love it and sometimes they leave it, but they never forget it!

This is the first book in the Cedar Cove series, and like the rest of Macomber’s work, I really enjoyed it. This is different to her other series: Blossom Street because Cedar Cove is a navy town and the story revolves around the whole community not just a street. I found this book a fun, quick read and I have already reserved the next two books in this series.

There are a whole host of new characters that I liked. Charlotte was probably my favourite – it made me laugh that she went to wakes with the hope of coming away with a new recipe! She seemed like a wise older woman and I liked how she managed to have a whole conversion with a stroke patient who had lost the ability to speech. The rest of the characters were likable too -Macomber writes strong female characters who are a pleasure to read about. The characters seem real – I can easily believe that these people could exist in real life.

Macomber writes a good story. She is amusing, gripping and exciting. I found myself reading huge chunks of the books in one go – I wanted to know what was going to happen. I liked howMacomber didn’t tie up all the story lines in this book, allowing for continuation in the series.

The issues in the book that Macomber focuses on are hard: being a navy wife, divorce and cot death. I think that Macomber was sensitive to these issues and dealt with them well. Maybe not everything was realistic in this book but I liked how she worked things out.

Overall, this was another great read by Macomber and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment.

9/10

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Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

summer on blossom street

Waterstone’s Synopsis:

This is Lydia’s newest knitting class is called “Knit to Quit”. It has four members: Abbie, a woman who’s dealing with a broken engagement; Alix who wants to quit smoking before she gets pregnant; Margaret and – for the first time – a man, Brain Hutchinson, who joins the class to help deal with stress. There’s also the chance to find out what’s been happening with other Blossom Street regulars including Lydia and her husband, Brad, who want to adopt; Anne Marie from Twenty Wishes; and Ellen, whose biological father has tracked her down. With romance and friendship on the horizon, Lydia’s “Knit to Quit” class is going to have a busy summer!

This is the next book in the Blossom Street series, and as good as the others. Macomber has become my favourite author and I love reading her work. This novel involves the majority of the old favourites: Lydia, who is hosting a new knitting class; Alix, who is attempting to give up smoking; Margaret, who is working in the shop, as cynical as ever and Anne-Marie, who has just met the man who might be Ellen’s biological father…

Having read many Macomber books I find that she often tackles serious issues, and Summer on Blossom Street is no exception. This novel sees the arrival of Casey, a girl who has been in many foster homes. I loved how Macomber explored how she would react being moved into a new home, and looked for ways for her to experience real joy and open up. I am not acquainted with social services and foster care myself but I felt that Macomber was very honest with Casey’s character and showed how she would seem difficult and non-responsive at first because she has been moved around so many times that she no longer wants to grow attached to where she is placed.

I loved that even though Anne-Marie didn’t participate in the knitting group Macomber included her in the story. Having met her in the last book – Twenty Wishes – it was lovely that we saw how her life was going – I liked that she wasn’t forgotten.

This is classic Macomber – there are serious issues explored, friendships formed and developed and love winning out. This is excellent chick-lit and I loved it. Macomber did not let me down, well worth reading.

8/10

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Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber

twenty wishes

Amazon description:

What do you want most in the world? Bookshop owner Anne Marie Roche wants to find happiness again. Her life hasn’t turned out as she expected and recently widowed, she’s never felt more alone. On Valentine s Day, Anne Marie and a several other widows get together to celebrate…what? Hope, possibility, the future. They each begin a list of twenty wishes, things they always wanted to do but never did. As Anne Marie works her way through her wishes, she learns that dreams can come true – but not necessarily in the way you expect.

I am a large fan of Macomber and was not let down by this book, which is the fourth book in the Blossom Street series. The difference between this book and the other three are that instead of focussing on Lydia in the knitting shop, we are with Anne Marie in the book shop. This opened up a path for new characters and storylines, whilst still keeping the other shops and their occupants present in the book. I enjoyed this new side to Blossom Street. I think for Macomber to have branched out to another shop is a good idea and it made for wonderful reading.

I enjoyed all the characters in this story. Anne-Marie is the main character, but as is typical Macomber, she has a small circle of friends all whom we spend time with. All four ladies are trying to get on with their lives after their husbands died and I enjoyed how Macomber didn’t neglect anyone – we read about all their struggles and joys. I liked all the women and am not sure I could pick a favourite.

This is a touching book that is extremely readable. I felt the ending was a little bit rushed but it did answer all questions. I also found some of the storylines predictable, but I didn’t mind that at all. Widowhood is a tough subject for someone to tackle but I think Macomber stood up to the challenge exceptionally well, exploring different routes and things people do to resolve grief. The idea of making a list of twenty wishes to achieve I liked; it gives direction and purpose.

This book took me a day to read, I didn’t want to put it down. Macomber is one of my favourite authors and I am yet to read something of hers I don’t like. Yes it is female fiction, but thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend it.

9/10

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