Review: The Secret of Joy

THE SECRET OF JOY by Melissa Senate
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Rating: 5/5 

the secret of joy

Summary: (From goodreads)

When twenty-something New Yorker Rebecca Strand learns (her father's deathbed confession) that she has a twenty-six-year-old half-sister she never knew existed, she can't wait to meet her. With her lawyer boyfriend's protests ringing in her ears ("She's just going to want her share of his million-dollar estate!"), Rebecca drives to a small coastal town in Maine with the 26 letters her father wrote to Joy every year on her birthday. All alone in the world, Rebecca knocks on Joy Jayhawk's door, having no idea what to expect.

Turns out Joy, the separated mother of a little boy (Rebecca has a nephew!), isn't very interested in the "father" who turned his back on her existence from day one–or her "sister." But Rebecca is so determined to establish family bonds with Joy that she doesn't go home . . . and finds herself being welcomed into small life by some very loveable, quirky characters, including a sexy carpenter named Theo . . .


Thoughts: This is such a sweet heart-warming story about life and love, and takes the drama of ex-wives and love-sick ladies to a whole new level, giving it life and plausibility at the same time. How did Melissa do it? No idea. But she won me over.

This book asks a lot of questions about marriage, relationships, and love. Does the author answer all the questions? Not really—but she answers the ones that she needs to, and as for others, she lets her readers decide the answers for themselves. THE SECRET OF JOY makes the reader think about what forgiveness really is, what it means to love someone, and the responsibility of loving them.

Characters: Joy was my favorite character. She was a rough-tough-don’t-mess-with-me-you-cant-make-me-cry kinda girl. She held her facade well (most of the time) but when she showed her true colors, she was a gem. Michael, Rebecca’s boyfriend, was a bit of a confusing character. At first I really liked him but as the story went on, I got fed up with him and kept thinking “Rebecca, dump him, please.” I almost cried when Rebecca’s dad died. These characters in this story will beckon you.

Writing: Melissa held me captive with her unique writing style. It was relaxed and smooth, and flowed well, something that could be read aloud without too much problem.

Content: There was only an occasional swear word, and some mention of sex, but no details.

Recommendation: Ages 14+ to anyone craving a light-hearted sit-by-the-fire-with-tea kind of book.

**Thank you to Sarah from Hachette for supplying my review copy!**

~Haleyknitz
knitter

Today is the last day you can comment for points in the winter contest! If you haven’t signed up, do it before December 1st!

Review: My Unfair Lady

My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy
Genre: Historical fiction, Historical Romance
Rating: 4/5

my unfair lady

Summary (from the back of the book):
HE CREATED THE PERFECT WOMAN… the impoverished Duke of Monchester despises the rich Americans who flock to London, seeking to buy their way into the ranks of the British peerage. So when railroad heiress Summer Wine Lee offers him a king’s ransom if he’ll teach her to become a proper lady, he’s prepared to rebuff her. But when he meets the petite beauty with the knife in her boot, it’s not her fortune he finds impossible to resist…
…FOR THE ARMS OF ANOTHER MAN. Frontier-bred Summer Wine Lee has no interest in winning over London society—it’s the New York bluebloods and her future mother-in-law she’s determined to impress. She knows the cost of smoothing her rough-and-tumble frontier edges will be high. But she never imagined it might cost her her heart…


Review: This book is so cute! The dialogue is lively, the characters are likeable (or in the case of the “bad ones”, hate-able), and the images and descriptions are clear and visible. I loved it by the end of the first chapter.

Summer was my kind of girl. She grinned when things were funny instead of trying to remain indifferent, she wasn’t afraid to show how she felt—but she could also throw a knife, shoot an arrow better than the woman champion of their day, and mount and ride a horse bareback (which I think is so cool!). She has a love for animals—and odd ones at that. She owns a three-legged dog, a dog with four legs but the size of a small horse, a monkey, a pocket-sized puppy, a fox, and a cat with no back legs (it sits in a cart and rolls around the room). She was raised by an Indian (one of those childhood dreams that I never quite left behind…) and he was the one who had taught her all that great stuff. Watching her try to settle into society was hilarious.

MY UNFAIR LADY has a lot of tension in it—both inner turmoil from poor Summer, and also sexual tension between the characters. However, it wasn’t overpowering because was so funny. I found that I laughed just as often as tension was built, so there was a constant, even balance. The end was very exciting, and I found it impossible to put down. Overall, reading this book was a hilarious and wonderful experience, and an unforgettable escape from reality. 

Plot: My Fair Lady (the movie) shows a girl who is transformed to a lady, then the man falls in love with her. I love the change that has taken place in MY UNFAIR LADY—The man doesn’t want to change her, because he loves her the way she is. I like this plot better than the first!

Writing: The writing was decent, acceptable, and more readable than a lot of newly published romances. Though it wasn’t Dante, it wasn’t hard to read either.

Content: Refreshingly, there was no language in this book. Summer has her own set of expletives, but they weren’t offensive (“Tarnation!”). As far as sex, let’s just say  there were several scenes (pages) in this book that I skipped completely, and just started reading again where the dialogue picked up. I didn’t miss anything important.

Recommendation: Ages 18+ to lovers of Historical fiction, Romance in general, or anyone who loves a girl who can shoot a gun, wield a knife, or use a bow and arrow better than a man!

**Thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks for supplying my review copy!**

This book is released on December 1stClick here to buy a copy!

~Haleyknitz
knitter

**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Bohemian Rhapsody, Muppets style

Here’s a funny link for you that I found on facebook today :D





~Haleyknitz
knitter

Review and Tour: The Magic Warble

THE MAGIC WARBLE  by Victoria Simcox
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating: 5/5
Book 1 in a 3- or 4-part series

magic warble 

Kristina doesn’t fit in. She is teased at school, she hates her babysitter, and her only friend is her pet rat. But when her favorite school teacher gives her a gift for Christmas, she is transported to a magical world. Kristina is the “Chosen One.” She has to save this magical place and restore it to it’s former ruler, who is imprisoned by the evil queen. Can Kristina bare the trials and complete her mission? 

The Magic Warble is an enchanting story that will hold you from the first page. I loved the characters in the story and, even though I personally am older than them, I can still relate to them. I loved the talking animals and the mischievous fairies. 

Recommendation: Lovers of The Chronicles of Narnia, the Inheritance Cycle and other adventure fantasy. Children ages 8-15 will enjoy this beautiful story.

**Thank you to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book for supplying my review copy!**

tour magic warble

An Interview with Victoria and Pump Up Your Book:
Victoria Simcox

Thank you for this interview, Victoria.  Do you remember writing stories as a child or did the writing bug come later?  Do you remember your first published piece?

I remember writing some stories as a child, mainly about gnomes and dwarfs. I’ve always loved fairy tales and grew up reading a lot of them. My mother who is an immigrant from Austria used to tell me very imaginative Austrian fairy tales. I loved that she did so, and it really helped me to develop a great imagination. The Magic Warble is my first published work.

What do you consider as the most frustrating side of becoming a published author and what has been the most rewarding?

The most frustrating part about being published is being told how good my story is and knowing not enough people know about it. The most rewarding fact is when I’m told by children how much they have loved my story and can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out, which by the way, I am two thirds finished.

Are you married or single and how do you combine the writing life with home life?  Do you have support?

I’m married and I’m a stay at home, home schooling mom. I write when ever I have a free moment. It probably adds up to about 2-3 hrs a day.  My husband is very supportive and even though my 3 kids are as well, they fight me for computer time. At least that’s how it used to be. Now we have more computers in our house to satisfy all.

What do you like to do for fun when you’re not writing?  Where do you like to vacation?  Can you tell us briefly about this?

I love to go to the movies especially children’s fantasy movies. I love the big bucket of popcorn soaked in butter and salt and a big ice cold diet coke. I don’t go that often, but when a good movie comes out I go with the kids. I also like to watch my two older kid’s band “A Well Known Stranger” (a youth Celtic band) play at their gigs. I have family in Austria and Europe and have been there 6 times and love going there to vacation.

If you could be anywhere in the world for one hour right now, where would that place be and why?

For 1 hour—hum? In Ireland in a smoke free Irish pub, listening to a great Celtic band.

Who is your biggest fan?

My daughter Kristina, who I named my main character in The Magic Warble after.

Where’s your favorite place to write at home?

In my bedroom at my computer.

What’s your favorite library and why?

Marysville WA library, because it’s big, the staff is very helpful and it’s close to home.

What’s your favorite bookstore and why?

Border’s. They have been a great support with giving me continuous book signings.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, a Chihuahua named Pipsy, a parakeet named Pauly and two cats, Frodo and Fritz

What are you reading right now?

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Tell us a secret no one else knows.

I watch The Office every night and can watch the episodes over and over. I find it to be the funniest comedy ever.

What’s the first thing you notice when you meet someone?

If they smile or not.

Have you ever won anything?

Yes a few drawing and coloring contests as a kid.

What’s on your to do list today?

Finish my second book and write my third one.

I understand that you are touring with Pump Up Your Book Promotion in Nov-Dec-09 via a virtual book tour.  Can you tell us all why you chose a virtual book tour to promote your book online?

The owner Dorothy had very good reviews and when I corresponded with her I really liked her and can tell that she genuinely wants to help me promote my book.

Thank you for this interview, Victoria. Good luck on your virtual book tour!

Thanks!


~Haleyknitz
knitter

**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Teaser Tuesday

Here’s my teaser for the day:

“I hope you’re not afraid of heights!” Werrien yelled.
”What do you mean?” Kristina yelled back.
”Take my hand!”
Kristina grabbed his hand—and suddenly there was no ground beneath them. They had jumped off a high cliff and were about to land in the Indra River.
magic warble
~from THE MAGIC WARBLE, page 40
Stay tuned for THE MAGIC WARBLE tour on Friday!


~Haleyknitz
knitter

Song review: Bloodlines

 

 

Bloodlines by Travis Oberg
Rating: lyrics: 9/10, Music 7.5/10

bloodlines

Travis tells a very good “story” song in poetic lyrics, singing to a sad, slow melody with a comfortable rhythmic beat. The music changes from slow and sad to louder and more energetic before a decrescendo.

This song was enchanting, and was the kind that I wanted to listen to again after it was over.

Lyrics:

this house has some old demons here
from back when my daddy was young

and he fought them hand over fist
to see if he could win
and he fought them hand over fist
been fighting ever since

so there in the door I heard a voice,
a shiver went down my spine
the room was empty, it shook like a storm,
the heavens were speaking
the room was empty and shook like a storm,
the sound was deafening



this is not your blood to spill
this is not your sin to feel
this is not your crown to wear
cast not your stones

I hear a voice like I’ve never before,
right down to my soul
it came to me that I wasn’t alone,
so I kicked out a window and you stood on the back porch

**********************************************************************************



travis oberg

About Travis:
 “oh Hello...

My name is Travis Oberg and I'm a full-time musician and artist. I also love Jesus Christ with all my heart. I've been crafting music for about ten years and in the past year have begun focusing full-time on a music career. I think my music has a real intimate, folkie-americana style and presents an honest viewpoint on the importance of remembering where you've been, looking ahead to where you are going and the decisions that we make on this journey. My songs deal with life and loss, relationships, redemption, and offer hope in this sometimes uncertain and difficult day we live in. I grew up in the vineyard countryside of central California, and have traveled and played in many places including Hawaii, The Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood and Quito, Ecuador. More recently, while living in Santa Cruz I have been singing and song-writing with my band Saltwater Merchants, leading worship for large and small groups and working on honing my song craft. I drive a neon and I don't like asparagus.”


theartistscollective.com

 





Click here for Tour Dates


I hope you check out and listen to Travis’s music!

~Haleyknitz
knitter

Review: Primary Victim

Primary Victim by Christopher Cihlar
Genre: Crime Fiction, Crime thriller
Rating: 4.5/5

primary victim

Summary (from back of book): A serial killer whose victims don’t die. An innocent man who believes he is guilty. A police officer who may solve the crime but in doing so gives the killer exactly what he wants. A legal defense that challenges the very core ideals of justice.

Primary Victim is a thriller that tests both the psychological breaking point of an individual and the strength of the legal system governing society.


Review:
I’ll admit up front that I have a weakness for crime fiction—but this book was amazing. Words escape my mind as I try to explain how blown away I am by this book. I gasped and grinned and nearly cried and laughed at the surprises thrown at me through this stunning debut novel.

The psychological aspect of PRIMARY VICTIM was mainly found in the “Victim,” Brice. I won’t say what happens to him, but it amazed me as his mind began to twist and change through the course of the story.

The plot: PRIMARY VICTIM was full of twists and turns that I never expected, and it had me sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time. I couldn’t put it down! The viewpoint alternates between the criminal, the police officer, and the (living) victim, and switches back and forth at the most inconvenient places, forcing you to read on.

Characters: All the characters in PRIMARY VICTIM were strongly developed with real personalities. I hate books where people are just to perfect to be real (what I call “happyland syndrome”)—this book had the good guys and the bad guys, the the ones you hoped it all worked out for them, and the ones that you wished would be the next to die because they were such jerks (cough Nick cough).

By the end of the book I wasn’t sure what Michael (the criminal) was going to pull out of his hat, and was, from the very first page to the very last, impressed with Michael’s genius and creativity. At times I actually found myself almost cheering for him, but had to remind myself that he was the bad guy. It was almost hard to see him as the bad guy at times, because of his “work—” Michael considered himself a God in a world that needed one and didn’t have one, victimizing the people that he thought needed to be victimized.

Brice and Sarah were such a perfect yet sad couple, and for the sake of keeping the review spoiler-free, I won’t say anything… but I thought I was going to cry at one point.

Writing: The writing was the weakest point of this book. The prose itself seemed written in an unfamiliar style, minimizing comas in the sentences, and it made for a harder read. I caught myself occasionally re-reading sentences and paragraphs to understand what had happened. Aside from the prose, the vocabulary was broad enough and the pacing was good.

As of now, PRIMARY VICTIM is unedited, but there is only an occasional grammatical error, formatting error, or typo scattered through the book. However, all in all, it didn’t take away from the story.

Content: There was brief mention of sex between husband and wife (example: “they made love,” no other details, and the fact that they’re married made it that much better), and an occasional foul word from an angry officer, but other than that this book was refreshingly clean. I applaud Christopher for writing a crime thriller with low content—especially compared to some of the other crime thrillers out there. Maybe he can start a revolution. It’s true, people—you can have a good book without excessive sex and language!

Recommendation: Ages 14+ to lovers of Crime fiction, thrillers, and psychological thrillers.

*************************************************************************************
About the Author (from Christopher’s home page)

Christopher Cihlar is the author of the 2006 Random House pop culture title, The Grilled Cheese Madonna.



He holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University's Department of policy analysis and management, an M.S. from the same department and a B.A. from Georgetown University.

He is a recognized expert in governmental policy and widely published in academic and trade journals. His professional focus is centered on the fields of homeland and national security, local government, and the impact tourism has on communities.

Primary Victim is Christopher's first novel.

He lives in Rockville, Maryland with his wife and two children.




Purchase PRIMARY VICTIM here

**Thank you to Christopher for providing my review copy!**

~Haleyknitz
knitter



**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Song Review: Somebody’s Baby

Somebody’s Baby by Jon Foreman
Ratings: Lyrics 10/10, Music 8.5/10

winter foreman

I’ll admit up front that I’m a huge fan of Jon Foreman, lead singer and songwriter for Switchfoot and Fiction Family. I got this song from the new mix from AM Music Blog, and was excited to see Jon’s song on the list. It was the first one I listened to, and it did not disappoint.

Somebody’s Baby tells a sad story of a girl who just didn’t have a very nice life. She suffers from drugs and alcohol, and tells the story of her death—and how she’s still somebody’s baby girl. His lyrics wrap around your mind and tell you the terrifying truth.

Jon’s voice is magnificent at expressing emotion, and his emotional song accompanied perfectly with the guitar and cello used in the music.

I love Jon’s work and always look forward to his music, and never tire of it.

Listen to “Somebody’s Baby” here.

 




She yells,
"If you were homeless, sure as hell you'd be drunk
Or high or trying to get there or begging for junk
When the people don't want you they just throw you money for beer"

Her name was November she went by Autumn or Fall
It was seven long years since the autumn when all
Of her nightmares grew fingers
And all of her dreams grew tears

She's somebody's baby
Somebody's baby girl
She's somebody's baby
Somebody's baby girl
And she's somebody's baby still

She screams,
"Well if you've never gone it alone
Well then go ahead, you better throw the first stone"
You got one lonely stoner waiting to bring to her knees

She dreams about Heaven, remembering hell
As the nightmare she visits and knows all too well
Every now and again
When she's sober she brushes her teeth

She's somebody's baby
Somebody's baby girl
She's somebody's baby
Somebody's baby girl
And she's somebody's baby still

Today was her birthday, strangely enough
When the cops found her body at the foot of the bluff
The anonymous caller this morning tipped off the police

They got her ID from the dental remains
The same fillings intact, the same nicotine stains
The birth and the death were both over
With no one to grieve

She's somebody's baby
Somebody's baby girl
She's somebody's baby
Somebody's baby girl
And she's somebody's baby still


I hope you check out Jon Foreman’s work!



~Haleyknitz
knitter



**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Review: What the dog saw

What the Dog Saw (Audio) by Malcolm Gladwell
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 3/5

what the dog saw

Summary (from Amazon.com):

What is the difference between choking and panicking? Why are there dozens of varieties of mustard-but only one variety of ketchup? What do football players teach us about how to hire teachers? What does hair dye tell us about the history of the 20th century?

In the past decade, Malcolm Gladwell has written three books that have radically changed how we understand our world and ourselves: The Tipping Point; Blink; and Outliers. Now, in What the Dog Saw, he brings together, for the first time, the best of his writing from The New Yorker over the same period.

Here is the bittersweet tale of the inventor of the birth control pill, and the dazzling inventions of the pasta sauce pioneer Howard Moscowitz. Gladwell sits with Ron Popeil, the king of the American kitchen, as he sells rotisserie ovens, and divines the secrets of Cesar Millan, the "dog whisperer" who can calm savage animals with the touch of his hand. He explores intelligence tests and ethnic profiling and "hindsight bias" and why it was that everyone in Silicon Valley once tripped over themselves to hire the same college graduate.

"Good writing," Gladwell says in his preface, "does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head."What the Dog Saw is yet another example of the buoyant spirit and unflagging curiosity that have made Malcolm Gladwell our most brilliant investigator of the hidden extraordinary.



What the dog saw tells some interesting stories and gives details about things that you never thought about, and probably never wanted to know. It was entertaining but a little silly when you get right down to it. I mean, do I really want to know the in depth process for making the perfect tomato sauce? No, not really.

It was a bit hard to listen to this for more than 45 minutes at a time, and I would recommend listening to one “story” at a time so that you don’t get overwhelmed.

The writing was clear but not flowery or over descriptive, and it was read by the author who did a great job, but read without much enthusiasm or inflection, making it difficult to listen to for too long.

Recommendation: Ages 12+. I would think that the people who would enjoy this most would be Journalists, History lovers, or anyone on a long car ride.

~Haleyknitz
knitter

Cherokee Passage

I grabbed this from  Books and Needlepoint, one of my favorite blogs. I really liked it, not only because I hold a place in my heart for the Cherokee Indians.

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of Passage?

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him an leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.


Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.



He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.



The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him . Maybe even some human might do him

harm.

The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!



Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.



It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him.

He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone.

Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, Sitting on the stump beside us.

When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

If you liked this story, pass it on.

If not, you took off your blindfold before dawn.



Moral of the story:


Just because you can't see God,


Doesn't mean He is not there.



"For we walk by faith, not by sight."


Happy Thursday :D
~H

Tour: Dark Stranger

Dark Stranger by Susan Sizemore
Genre: Paranormal Romance

dark stranger

Summary from goodreads:

A twist of fate made Zoe Pappas heir to the Byzant throne. Bound by duty and devotion to keep the Empire safe, Zoe is captured while on a secret diplomatic mission and sent to an underground prisoner-of-war camp. In this strange, shadowy place, residents are governed by fellow inmate General Matthias "Doc" Raven, whose powerful magnetism rouses an urgent desire in Zoe. But the intensity of her attraction is matched by her surprise at discovering that Doc has a secret of his own: he is a vampire.

Zoe's presence puts everyone in the camp in danger. Doc knows it, and knows too that Zoe's royal status makes it impossible for her to bond with a vampire. The only way to save her is to help her escape, and lose her forever. But some fires are impossible to quench, even when following your heart is the ultimate taboo....

I sort of wish I’d started with book one… this is book eight. It’s hard to jump into a series in the middle. Hopefully this book will be an exception ;)

Review to come soon.

Click Here to view a preview of Chapters 1 and 2

~Haleyknitz
knitter

Wordless Wednesday






TWLOHA DAY 09



This reminds me of TWLOHA. (www.twloha.com) This is Jon Foreman of Switchfoot in concert.

Photo by Kari Kaczan

~Haleyknitz 
knitter

Teaser Tuesday

Today’s teasers are…

Michael was nothing if not patient. The wind could not touch him where he sat and the cold was bearable. Time passed slowly but it was on his side and gave him the opportunity to clear his mind, check off the possible loose ends to make final preparations. This was most certainly the night. Nothing before its time and he would not rush, but surely it would come tonight.” ~Primary Victim by Christopher Cihlar, page 56
primary victim


The drive was endless with pockets of traffic and construction and accidents and rubberneckers. Eight hours later, she passed the sign her half sister had learned against: WELCOME TO MAINE: THE WAY LIFE SHOULD BE.” ~The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate, page 54
the secret of joy


~Haleyknitz
knitter

**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

a blog post that has nothing to do with books but that you’re more than welcome to read anyway.

So last Tuesday, I went into the garage to get my bike… and I looked down and it had a flat tire. That made me pretty sad. I had to ride my daddy’s bike to work.

On last Wednesday, it was raining. For those of you who have never heard me talk about my (mom’s) car, it has a really bad belt and whenever it’s wet the power steering goes out. So of course, the power steering went out and we were unable to do much with the thing. We got home alive, so that was good. But it was raining and the car was out of commission so I couldn’t go to youth group and that made me sad because I hadn’t been able to go for the past month for various reasons. sigh.

On Thursday nothing important happened that I can remember, so I’ll skip that day. Oh wait, I remember. I got like, eight audio books in the mail. But beside that nothing interesting happened.

Friday was my mom’s 35th birthday (I’m kidding. But she loves it when we tell her she’s so young). I gave her two cookbooks. (Chocolate a love story, and How to roast a lamb. She already knew she was getting them, but she acted excited and loved them anyway.)

Saturday was my birthday, and I went to rehearsal in the morning (does 11:00-1:pm count as morning? It sure felt like morning.) and then went home and made my birthday cake. I used chocolate cake mix from a box, but added a packet of chocolate pudding into it and mixed it with the mixer for a long time, which I recommend everyone try because it makes it fantastically fluffy and dense at the same time. I made the frosting out of whipped cream cheese and powdered sugar and black cocoa. fantastic. best birthday cake I’ve ever made.

Sunday we went to church, but my pastor was out of town (he said that his friend was stupid enough to ask him to be the pastor to marry him and his fiancé. haha. Pastor Will has such a low view of himself.) so we had no greenhouse class (Sunday school) and a guest preacher. We all went out to lunch to celebrate the birthdays.

Today was my daddy’s birthday. (are we noticing a reoccurring theme in my week? My mom’s b-day is Nov 13, mine is the 14, dad’s is the 16. It is so cool!) and anyone who wished him a happy birthday at work got 50% off canvas and a cupcake. There were so many left over cupcakes that I ate three this evening and nobody noticed. And I wasn’t the only one who had more than one…

Also, I walked my bike down to the bike store and it was closed. I sat there cooling off and the guy just happened to be there so he fixed it for me :D I was very happy.  So I rode the bike home. I changed and went for a nice bike ride (since what I was wearing was too warm for a decent ride) and grabbed my helmet. So Appollo, that’s why you saw me twice wearing different clothes going the same direction :D

Anyway.

So tomorrow I go on a college trip to Campbell University, which is why I posted THE SECRET OF JOY blog tour a day early, because I’ll be out of town in Bouis Creek (spelling?). As I mentioned earlier, I’m interested in Criminology and Criminal Justice (On that note, Crime Thriller books are my favorites!). Of course, I don’t know if that’s something that will pass, or something I’m truly interested in. We’ll see. College is the best time to find out, right?

Here is a funny video to make you laugh:





until next time,
~H
knitter

**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Tour—The Secret of Joy

The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate
Genre: Fiction

the secret of joy

Summary from Goodreads: When twenty-something New Yorker Rebecca Strand learns (her father's deathbed confession) that she has a twenty-six-year-old half-sister she never knew existed, she can't wait to meet her. With her lawyer boyfriend's protests ringing in her ears ("She's just going to want her share of his million-dollar estate!"), Rebecca drives to a small coastal town in Maine with the 26 letters her father wrote to Joy every year on her birthday. All alone in the world, Rebecca knocks on Joy Jayhawk's door, having no idea what to expect.

Turns out Joy, the separated mother of a little boy (Rebecca has a nephew!), isn't very interested in the "father" who turned his back on her existence from day one–or her "sister." But Rebecca is so determined to establish family bonds with Joy that she doesn't go home . . . and finds herself being welcomed into small life by some very loveable, quirky characters, including a sexy carpenter named Theo . . .


Click here to win one of two copies of THE SECRET OF JOY from Goodreads!

I’ve started this book and it’s really very good. I’m excited to finish it. Review will come soon, hopefully within the week.

About the Author:
melissa senate
“I'm the author of eight novels, including my debut, SEE JANE DATE (also available in cute TV movie form on DVD) and my newest, THE SECRET OF JOY, coming in November from Simon & Schuster's Downtown Press imprint. And after that comes my YA novel, The MOSTS, in June 2010 from Delacorte. I'm also the proud mother of an adorable seven-year-old boy who is the proud owner of two pet rats named Jeffrey and Timmy (the rats are cuter and more fun than I thought they'd be.)”

~Haleyknitz
knitter

**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Review: Yarn Bombing

Yarn Bombing—the art of crochet and knit graffiti by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain
Genre: craft/art
Rating: 4/5

yarn bombing

Yarn Bombing is an extremely inspirational and creative book. It got my knitting juices flowing and made my hands itch for the needles when I saw pictures of colorful yarn knit into… beautiful graffiti?

Yes, yarn graffiti. Yarn Bombing is a rather large thing in big cities and even other countries where knitting is prominent, especially Sweden (see links below).

Yarn Bombing has many fantastic pictures, ideas for bombing, some basics for getting started, points and tips, advice on what to say if you get caught in the act (either by passer-bys or police), interviews with yarn bombers, and some patterns.

Here is my favorite pattern:
this pattern is for chain-link fence weave:
1. Cast On 12.
2. Open a bottle of wine.
3. Knit every row until sober.
4. Bind off
5. Repeat 1-4 seven more times…



I find this hilarious, though some people who aren’t knitters may not. By the way, the real pattern for the chain link fence weave is written in the book right under that ;)

There are patterns in the book for knitting items for yourself, such as arm warmers, hoods that cover your whole face except your eyes (so you can be a ninja-yarn-bomber!) sweaters, and some other stuff. Some of the bombing patterns include treesweaters, knit tulips and mushrooms, Knit sneakers to hang over wires, Bolo balls, Elf Stockings, and more.

I give it a 4/5 because, considering that graffiti is illegal and I’m perusing Criminology… let’s just say that I’m being gracious.(and I’m actually considering giving this a try… I’ll keep you posted on that one ;). Also, it was laid out a little odd and it was a bit hard to find some things. Lastly it didn’t have quite as many patterns as I expected. But, all in all, it was an awesome craft book!

Recommendation: knitters and Crocheters of any age, anyone interested in graffiti or contemporary art.


Here are some links to some yarn-bombers that you should check out, there are tons more! Follow the links you find on their blogs and explore the yarn-bombing community.

Maskerade
Knitted Landscape
Art Yarn
Knit Happens
Jafabrit’s Art


**Thank you to Janice from Arsenal Pulp Press for supplying my review copy**

Knitting away,
~Haleyknitz
knitter 

And speaking of knitting…

**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Review: the Love Revolution

THE LOVE REVOLUTION by Joyce Meyer, read by Sandra McColm
Genre: Non-fiction, Inspirational

The-Love-Revolution-L6W735L_small

THE LOVE REVOLUTION shows us what the world is really like. It gets to the root of the problem in the world—sin and selfishness. Joyce tells stories about her and others’ experiences and gives the truth about reality. For anyone who wants the world to change, for anyone who loves the children of the world, for those of you who are desperate to do something—this is the book for you. This is the “change” that Americans should be looking for.

Recommendation: Ages 12+ (because of mention of some details that may be offensive to younger children, such as sex slavery, starvation of children etc.)I recommend the book, not the audio book of this title (which is what I reviewed). The reader of the audio book was difficult to listen to, her voice seemed monotone and flat, and she read a little too slowly for my taste.

About the Author: Joyce Meyer: Click here to read Joyce Meyer’s biography
joyce-meyer2


**Thank you to Anna from Hachette for providing my review copy**

~Haleyknitz
knitter

**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

You know you spend too much time in the library when…

1. the librarians know your full name, occupation, major in college, and schedule
2. they know your cell phone number from muscle memory
3. they don't leave the standard message for inter-library loan (hello ___, this is the library calling to tell you that your book, ___, is in. you have __ days to pick it up, and you can renew it __ times. our hours are...) instead they just say "hey, your book is in."
4. they don't ask for your library card, they just pull your account up when they see you coming to the desk with a stack of books.
5. they know your favorite authors and genres and let you know when stuff you might like comes in.
6. they ask your advice on different books and authors for their own reading or for their kids...

Yeah, I wrote all these and they are all true for me. I’m a member of two libraries (downtown one, and the school one) and that’s pretty much the story of my life there… books books and books :D

Speaking of Libraries… Join my new Library Ghosts book club (which starts in January) before November 30th and you’ll get 5 extra entries in the Winter Contest!

~Haleyknitz
knitter

Song Sunday

Today’s song Sunday is in honor of Switchfoot, whose album came out on Tuesday (and I got it for my birthday yesterday :D yay!). The album is called Hello Hurricane and is probably their best yet.

Switchfoot - Hello Hurricane Album Cover

switchfoot band

Mess Of Me:

I am my own affliction
I am my own disease
There ain´t no drug that they could sell
Ah there ain´t no drugs to make me well

There ain´t no drug
It´s not enough
There ain´t no drug
The sickness is myself

- Chorus -
I made a mess of me I wanna get back the rest of me
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna reverse this tragedy
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my live alive
The rest of my life alive!

We lock our souls in cages
We hide inside our shells
It´s hard to free to the ones you love
Oh when you can´t forgive yourself
Yeah forgive yourself!

There ain´t no drug
There ain´t no drug
There ain´t no drug
The sickness is myself

- Chorus -
I made a mess of me I wanna get back the rest of me
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna reverse this tragedy
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my live alive
The rest of my life alive!

There ain´t no drug
There ain´t no drug
There ain´t no drug
No drugs to make me well
There ain´t no drug
It´s not enough
I´m breaking up
The sickness is myself
The sickness is myself

- Chorus -
I made a mess of me I wanna get back the rest of me
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna reverse this tragedy
I´ve made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my live alive
The rest of my life alive!

Rock on, man. Watch the best band on earth.




Got a favorite song by Switchfoot? Leave a comment…
~Haleyknitz
knitter

**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Review: The Murder of King Tut

THE MURDER OF KING TUT—THE PLOT TO KILL THE CHILD KING (Audio Book) by James Patterson and Martin Dugard, read by Joe Barrett

Genre: non-fiction thriller
Rating: 4.5/5

king tut

Summary: James Patterson tells a story in three parts—one part, the mysterious death of King Tut, the second part the discovery of his tomb by Carter, and the third part his writing, own exploration, research, and discovery of the elusive history of the boy king.

Thoughts: This is one of the best James Patterson books I’ve ever read (listened too). JP has taken an age old mystery and solved it. Yes, it appears as though the mystery of Tut is mystery no more. This book is very alive, even though the plot revolves around a murder. I felt like I was standing right there, watching it all take place. At times, I felt like the characters themselves. This was an amazing escape from reality.

Characters (5/5): Characters should be relatable for a book to be enjoyable, and the characters in Tut’s world were wonderful. They were highly developed right away, and were the kind that either you routed for or hated with a passion.

Writing (4/5/5): James is an awesome writer. I always  love reading his work because it’s so lyric. His words flow smoothly and he doesn’t overuse too many phrases (though several “waves” of various things did “wash over” many people).

Content (4/5): There was barely any language in this book, which was a nice change of JP’s work. It wasn’t necessary, either. It just goes to show that the point can be made—and made well—without filthy language. There was a little bit of sex but it wasn’t too graphic, nor was it frequent.

Reader (4/5): I really liked the voice of the reader for this book. I’ve heard some pretty awful ones before, I’ll say that much right now! But Joe’s voice was perfect for this book. The only thing I didn’t like were the voices he put with the characters—the accents were pretty lousy, and when he put on a “fake” voice for the child characters, it just sounded a little silly. I was glad when Tut got old enough that he didn’t have to do that anymore!

Recommendation: Ages 16+ to lovers of fiction, history, nonfiction, thrillers, mystery, or to any James-Patterson-addict.


About the Author: (click here to read JP’s biography)
jamesPatterson

**Thank you to Anna from Hachette for providing my review copy!**

~Haleyknitz

**Don’t forget—every comment you leave on any post dated October 9-November 30 gives one an extra point in my Winter contest—a giveaway where two people will win handknit scarves!!!!**

Review: A Courtesan’s Scandal

A Courtesan’s Scandal by Julia London
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Historical Fiction 

courtesan

My Summary: Kate is a courtesan who only lives the way she does to keep herself from being tossed into the streets. She is “sold” to the Prince of Whales, but as the price is married, he cannot afford a scandal. While the prince divorces his wife, he instructs the Duke of Darlington to be seen in public with Kate so that nobody suspects him. But Kate and Grayson, the Duke, aren’t expecting to fall in love.

Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it was pretty entertaining at times, but on the other it was hard to sit down and read more than a few chapters at a time. I found the story rather trivial, really it was all silly politics and unfaithfulness in marriage.

I couldn’t finish this book. I got to the part where they fall in love (a little more than halfway) and just didn’t have the patience to finish it. There wasn’t much of a story line besides, again, politics and reputation and sex.

Characters: The characters were the strong point in this book. They were very real and well developed immediately, and I enjoyed their dialogue.

Writing: The writing was also very good. It’s very refreshing to read a novel that uses good sentence structure and a wide range of vocabulary. The prose flowed nicely.

Content: There was no language, but some sex in the book. The scenes were pretty outlined and there were a few pages I skipped. Occasionally a man is drunk and says something a bit odd, but other than that there are no major alcohol references.

Recommendation: Ages 16+ (18+ if you’re picky about content) to lovers of historical fiction and romance, and quick easy reads.

read about the author here

~Haleyknitz 
knitter

Review: From Darkness to Light

From Darkness to Light—My journey back from a brain filled with blood
by Lynn Christopher Roby
Rating: 3.5/5 
Genre: Memoir, Autobiography, Christian

darkness to light

Summary: Lynn tells the story of her aneurysm, her life before and after, and her walk with God. She recalls her aneurysm and tells the sad and frightening story of her trials trying to get through it. Living through an aneurysm is hard—I had no idea how hard! She went through constant pain and a lot of depression. She also talks about her alcoholism early in life, mentions her sexual abuse, and her early depression. Eventually, after the aneurysm, she was able to heal enough to start her work for the Lord, opening a clinic to help people through the things she has gone through.

Thoughts: Lynn’s story is amazing and inspiring.  This books shows how the bible verse “all things work together for good” plays out in real life. Lynn never would have been able to help the people she helped, or save the lives she helped save, if it hadn’t been for her very rough life.

Writing: The writing style and prose was tough to read in that it felt very choppy, had a lot of fragments, and quite a few typos, giving it an overall casual feel. The pacing was also a bit fast through the aneurysm, and slow through the rest. I found it difficult to read during the section where she explained the “12 steps to A.A.” which she explained in detail and then related it to her experiences, and showed how she used them through her life as a recovering alcoholic and getting through the aneurysm. The layout was a bit hard to follow, too. She starts with the aneurysm, then the healing process, then backtracks to tell about her alcoholism and depression, divorce, and second marriage before she finishes the story of what happened after the aneurysm. It was a little confusing, but once I saw what she was doing, it was easier to follow.

Content:  There was no language or sex. She does mention God very often, as it is a memoir of a Christian’s suffering, but does not leave you with the feeling that you’ve been “preached to.”

Recommendation: Ages 13+ because of reference to alcohol. I really enjoyed this book—it had its on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments, its sad sections, and its happy parts.



About the author:

lynn

Lynn lives in Carroll Valley Pa. with her husband Bill and their Samoyed Abigail. She is a Mother blessed with four sons and beautiful grandchildren that add to filling her life with joy and fun.

Lynn is a certified Professional Level Kripalu Yoga Teacher; she continues her studies at The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge Ma. Lynn and her husband Bill are the founders and owners of The Gettysburg Holistic Health Center where Lynn teaches in her studio which is a Kripalu affiliated studio. Lynn is a Master level addictions specialist and a Reiki Master. She feels honored to work with folks who suffer from the disease of addiction as she watches them transform their lives from turmoil to surrender.

Lynn’s journey led her into writing this book that was very cathartic hoping to inspire anyone suffering not only from a ruptured brain aneurysm, or alcoholism, or abuse but to touch anyone who can relate to such pain and suffering and find hope from reading this book

**Thank you to Bostic Communications and Lynn for providing me with my review copy!**

~Haleyknitz

Tour: A Courtesan's Scandal

A Courtesan’s Scandal by Julia London
Genre: Historical Romance

courtesan

A COURTESAN'S SCANDAL is the third fast-paced historical romance in New York Times bestselling author Julia London's Scandalous Series in which London's most dignified duke falls for the courtesan who is intended for the decadent Prince of Wales. (summary from Sarah at Pocketbooks)



About the Author

Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fifteen historical romance novels, two of which were nominated for the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA Award. She is also the author of the contemporary romantic novel SUMMER OF TWO WISHES and GUIDING LIGHT: JONATHAN'S STORY, the New York Times bestselling novel based on the Emmy Award-winning daytime drama Guiding Light. Her novels have been translated into six foreign languages. A native Texan, London lives in Austin.


london-head-shot

My book came in just a few days ago ;) So look for the review within the week. Meanwhile, check out the other blog tour stops:

Frugal Plus: http://frugalplus.com/
All About {n}: http://www.bookwormygirl.blogspot.com/
Rundpinne: http://www.rundpinne.blogspot.com/
Books Reviews by Buuklvr81: http://www.buuklvr81.blogspot.com
Book Soulmates: http://booksoulmates.blogspot.com/
I Read: http://sumanam.wordpress.com/
Starting Fresh: http://startingfresh-gaby317.blogspot.com/


Book Junkie: http://myfoolishwisdom.blogspot.com/
Drey’s Library: http://dreyslibrary.blogspot.com/
Just Another New Blog: http://justanothernewblog.blogspot.com/
Keep on Booking: http://keeponbooking.blogspot.com
Readaholic: http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/
My Reading Room: http://myreadingroom-crystal.blogspot.com
My Book Addiction and More:
www.mybookaddictionandmore.wordpress.com
The Life (and Lies) of an Inanimate Flying Object: http://haleymathiot.blogspot.com/
Book Magic: http://bookmagic418.blogspot.com/
Seductive Musings: http://seductivemusings.blogspot.com/
Luxury Reading: http://www.luxuryreading.com/
The Eclectic Book Lover: http://www.eclecticbooklover.com/
My Own Little Corner of the World: http://molcotw.blogspot.com/
Cheeky Reads: http://cheekyreads.blogspot.com/
Poisoned Rationality: http://lastexilewords.blogspot.com
The Bibliophilic Book Blog: http://www.bibliophilicbookblog.com/
Entertainment Realm: http://entertainmentrealm.com/



~Haleyknitz
knitter

Disclaimer

Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.