Posts Tagged With: knitting

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 fiancée. 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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A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber

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Synopsis from Amazon:

This is another heart-warming tale of friendship from the bestselling author of “Thursdays at Eight”. When times are tough, confiding in friends can change your life. Cancer survivor Lydia’s business is thriving but her dream-man’s ex is threatening their relationship…Retired, self-contained Elise has lost everything and lives with her daughter, but still has disturbingly strong feelings for her gambling ex-husband. Nervous Bethanne is an unwilling divorcee whose husband left her and their children for a younger woman. She urgently needs a job, but has she the confidence to find one? Lonely teenager, Courtney, feels abandoned too. Grieving over her mother’s death, she has put on weight and dreads starting a new school. This uplifting, heart-warming story proves that however bleak the future may look, the importance of friendship should never be underestimated.

This is the second book in Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street series. I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed the others in the series. They are light, heart-warming books that I think are worth reading, and definitely good if you want a quick, easy read.

Again, the main character is Lydia Hoffman, the owner of the knitting shop, A Good Yarn. The story revolves around her, the shop, and the knitting class she starts. This time, it is socks. This class draws in three new customers – Elise, who is worried because her ex-husband who she still loves is back in town; Bethanne, a divorcee who is struggling with adjusting to single life, and desperately needs a job; and Courtney, a teenager new to Seattle, who has put on a lot of weight since the death of her mother and is about to start senior year, not knowing anyone. We watch as they grow in confidence, make friends, and resolve issues in their lives.

This is a good book. It is light, full of knitting, love, friendship and happiness. It is fairly predictable, but that does not spoil the book. I was engaged with this book, and didn’t want to put it down. I really like how Macomber writes, she is easy to connect with and fun to read.

I enjoyed all the characters – I loved the knitters and hated those who were horrible, including Grant, Bethanne’s mean ex-husband. I think Courtney was my favourite. She shows determination to get her life straightened out, and she is a good friend to all of them. I also liked how the characters from the first book, especially Jacqueline and Alix, were written into to this book, to keep the continuum going.

This is just an enjoyable book.

8/10

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The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

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Synopsis:

There’s a little yarn shop on Blossom Street in Seattle. It’s owned by Lydia Hoffman, and it represents her dream of a new life free from cancer. A life that offers a chance at love . . .

Lydia teaches knitting to beginners, and the first class is “How to Make a Baby Blanket.” Three women join. Jacqueline Donovan wants to knit something for her grandchild as a gesture of reconciliation with her daughter-in-law. Carol Girard feels that the baby blanket is a message of hope as she makes a final attempt to conceive. And Alix Townsend is knitting her blanket for a court-ordered community service project.

These four very different women, brought together by an age-old craft, make unexpected discoveries — about themselves and each other. Discoveries that lead to friendship and more . . .

This is the first book in The Blossom Street Series. I have already read Back on Blossom Street – the thrid book, and that did not effect my reading at all. We meet Lydia, a woman determined to live life having beaten cancer twice. She opens a knitting shop on Blossom Street, Seattle – A Good Yarn. She offers a knitting class, and this draws in three different ladies – Carol, who has given up her job to try and have children; Alix, a rough girl who had clashed with the law and Jacqueline, an uptight high society woman. With the classes these four women’s lives have been entwined and friendships have been formed.

This is the typical chick-lit book – enjoyable, quick to read, fairly predictable, and fun. I liked all the characters, Alix in particular, I liked her no-nonsense attitude. I like Macomber’s writing style. It flows and she writes in an enjoyable way. Macomber touches on family issues, women who can’t get pregnant and the fear and reality of cancer. She writes well and sensitively and all issues were dealt with in a sensible and realistic manner.

I have enjoyed both of the books I have read. I don’t really have any complaints, it is your average female fiction. I look forward to reading the next book in this series, and other books by Macomber.

8/10

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Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

back-on-blossom-street

Synopsis:

There’s a new shop on Seattle’s Blossom Street– a flower store called Susannah’s Garden, right next door to A Good Yarn. Susannah Nelson, the owner, has just hired a young widow named Colette Blake. A couple of months earlier, Colette had abruptly quit her previous job– after a brief affair with her boss. To her dismay, he’s suddenly begun placing weekly orders for flower arrangements Susannah and Colette both join Lydia Goetz’s new knitting class. Lydia’s previous classes have forged lasting friendships, and this one is no exception. But Lydia and her sister, Margaret, have worries of their own. Margaret’s daughter, Julia, has been the victim of a random carjacking, and the entire family is thrown into emotional chaos. Then there’s Alix Townsend. Her wedding to Jordan Turner is only months away– but she’s not sure she can go through with it. Her love for Jordan isn’t in question; what she can’t handle is the whole wedding extravaganza engineered by her mentor, Jacqueline, with the enthusiastic cooperation of her future mother-in-law. A reception at the country club and hundreds of guests she’s never even met– it’s just not Alix. Like everyone else in Lydia’s knitting class, Alix knows there’s a solution to every problem… and that another woman can usually help you find it.

This is the third book in the Blossom Street series by Debbie Macomber. However, I read this is a stand-alone book and really enjoyed it. It did not effect the book at all that I had not read the first two books. I will now be reading them though 🙂

The story follows Lydia, Alix and Colette through family traumas, pregnancy, love and knitting. I found the story similar to The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs in places, yet this did not negatively affect the story. It was very different in places too – such as the wedding and the carjacking. Cancer and people trafficing add a unique depth to the book too.

My favourite character was Aunt Elizabeth. She was warm and intuiative. She loved her family and did all she could to keep them safe. She was instantly likable and friendly. A similar character was Grandma Turner. Both were old, wise women who you just fell in love with.

I enjoyed the whole book. Although a fairly predictible ending I was gripped and was longing for a happy ending. I will be interested in reading the first books and the fourth books.

9/10

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The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

I picked this book to read as a quick, chick-lit book. However, it is too well written to be classed as that. There is a strong story, great characters and a bit of knitting that made this a lovely, exciting read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book: The Friday Night Knitting Club. Jacobs turned out to be a great writer, and I will definitely be looking out for her work. Here is the synopsis:

Casting on! It starts almost by accident: the women who buy their knitting needles and wool from Georgia’s store linger for advice, for a coffee, for a chat and before they know it, every Friday night is knitting night. Finding a pattern! And as the needles clack, and the garments grow, the conversation moves on from patterns and yarn to life, love and everything. These women are of different ages, from different backgrounds and facing different problems, but they are drawn together by threads of affection that prove as durable as the sweaters they knit. The Friday Night Knitting Club – don’t you want to join?

My favourite character was Georgia’s daughter Dakota I think. I loved watching her grow up, search for her roots and I loved her passion for baking, one of my passions too! However, I did love all the characters. Georgia was a beautiful character; strong, independent, reliable and a real role model, showing that women, especially single-mothers can make it big in life, can achieve what they want.

I adored the Club and the people who came along. The attempts at knitting made me laugh, and made me realise how bad I would be if I tried, however, because of this book I do want to give knitting a go. The friendships formed and the way they stuck together through everything was beautiful. This showed how friends can be formed in crazy places, but they are friendships that will last.

Jacobs searched all kinds of issues, from knitting, to love, to race, to cancer. All were written about in a sensitive, commendable way and the issues are dealt with wonderfully.

My only complaints are that not all the characters were explored as much as I would have liked. Both K.C. and Marty I felt I didn’t know enough about and there was one story line involving Anita that I didn’t feel was finished.

Even though this is a book based around knitting, there was not an overload of knitting in the book, and actually, it shows how people of any age can enjoy sitting down and following a pattern.

9/10 – a lovely book, highly recommend it!

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