Review: The Mac Brothers Series (Anthology) – various authors

mac brothersBLURB: A perfect Summer beach read!
The Mac Brothers have everything. Confidence. Tattoos. Attitudes. Everything except love.
But for every bad boy, there’s a girl who ignores the rules.

From four of your favourite bestselling authors:
Aaron MacDonald – Seaside Seduction-Angela Ford
Donnan MacDonald – Seaside Playboy-Jennifer Conner
Layne MacDonald – Seaside Rendezvous-Natalie-Nicole Bates
Blake MacDonald – Seaside Passion – Tammy Tate

REVIEW: To be honest, I expected more from this book. A lot more. Most family anthologies show care and attention to an overall plot line but unfortunately this one didn’t. The over-all detail didn’t change in that from book one to four, the basics were consistent (like role, birth order, reason for leaving then returning) but it was very superficial, the characters were surface only and I found it hard to finish, and things jumped around and the books read at very different pacing. I wouldn’t be going out of my way to look for other titles by these authors. 1 star.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher and am voluntarily reviewing it. As per, I don’t seek to fund this blog, but the book is available NOW on Amazon & other e-book retailer sites.

Blog Hiatus

Hi everyone

yesterday was fairly traumatic. We’ve had some medical issues with a family member and also a close friend & frankly, I need to hibernate. I’ll most likely be stitching up a storm as I find that hugely therapeutic; & there are already scheduled review posts so I won’t be totally gone. I’ll probably be around on Instagram but not here or FB.

If you pray, please pray for C & her surgical team; for K & his quick recovery (to add to his burden, his mum has just had ankle surgery so there’s two down in that household). And that I can hold it together & be brave in front of the kids. And that J can cover my leave requirements without breaking down herself.

Thanks heaps.

Review: We Talk Fiber

fibertalkSo for something a little different, here’s an audio rec. I recently discovered Fiber Talk, a podcast available thru multiple channels, including their website. Gary & Christine are stitchers and knitters so this podcast is all about needles and threads. The first one I listened to was from Nicola Parkman of Hands Across the Sea Samplers (who has revisited the show, and I intend to listen to that one soon) and there are so many more back into January 2017, including Vonna (The Twisted Stitcher), Mary Corbett and her sister Sarah DeBree, ANG Certified Master Teacher Susan Hoekstra & the team from Nordic Needle, who I know a lot of stitchers use for supplies.

I think I’m going to look for a smaller sampler to add to my rotation…which is the whole point, right? Enable the world!

You can listen thru iTunes, their website, Podcast Addict (the android app I enjoy & recommend) & various other sources.

 

WIP Wednesday #199

I have done HEAPS this last week and I am so excited! My parcel has been in Miami for the last two days and I want it to HURRY UP but in the meantime I am pretty excited to continue with my two July WIPs.

Number One is the Mill Hill Christmas Island Santa, from their Tropical Santas line (2012 series). I am re-working parts of this as I go. You’ll note that he no longer has a coconut – I have elongated the shape to an oval and stitched it all in 434, which is the colour of the aged pig-skin rugby ball we have at home. Back story is that Santa played for the All Blacks (the national rugby union team) in his youth, & he still loves a bit of beach touch rugby. Today I’ll hopefully get that bird re-charted or stitched as a seagull, which is found on nearly every NZ beach. This pack has already been spoken for, & will be going off to Michelle #sprinklestitchykindness Garette, hopefully next week!

At home I have Andromeda on the lap stand. I finished her arm last night, and all the back stitch is done for the whole piece (both Kreinik & DMC) except her face, as I still have hair to complete in that area first. At this point I will stitch her hair in the charted colours. I am not yet sure what shade of green I will use for the ribbon in her hair but I think I found the perfect beads in my stash last night. I can tell you I’m adding an extra five bucks to the Stitch From Stash tally just for the frogging portion alone. I also decided that my Andromeda wasn’t going to be placidly waiting out the Fates. Eyes open & looking straight ahead. I looked thru my other Mira pile, found the eye I wanted, reversed it and re-charted to fit the 15 stitches high face (Cassiopeia is 18 stitches FYI).

Now, you’ll note that I now have a post count in the header. I’ve been blogging for nearly 10 years, so it took a while to average out the WIP Wednesday posts (I ignore the FB only ones) & I made an executive decision. Next week, being #200, calls for something special. Keep your eye out for #passthestash & a wee competition!

ARC Review: Forever In Good Hope – Cindy Kirk

good hope.pngBLURB: Delphinium “Fin” Bloom returns to her hometown with one goal: get the mayor—her former flame—to approve a location shoot in Good Hope. But business turns personal when the two become entangled in a fake engagement to comfort his ailing grandmother.

For Jeremy, the romantic façade hits close to his heart. Still reeling from the way things ended between Fin and him all those years ago, he sees the fake engagement as an opportunity to get her out of his system once and for all. But instead of laying the past to rest, Jeremy quickly discovers he can’t envision a life without her.

Now engaged to another man, Fin had long ago given up on the dream of a life with Jeremy. Why is it, then, that her fake engagement feels more genuine than her real one? As the sleepy days of summer come to a close in Good Hope, will Fin and Jeremy give love a second chance? Or will the revelation of a devastating secret put an end to the fairy tale?

I started reading this series as it popped up from my Kindle suggestions as similar to Sherryl Woods’ Chesapeake Shores series. And they are, in that the books are interlinked by family, romance and the wider community. Sometimes Kindle suggestions are wildly out (who the heck writes some of those book tags??!) but this one was spot on. While I haven’t written big reviews, I’ve given Christmas in Good Hope 4 Goodreads stars, and the same with Summer in Good Hope (possibly my favourite book of the series, with the presence of two normal & naughty boys) and this is one series I’ll be reading until the end. Go, Eliza!

I have to say, tho, that this is probably the weakest book of the series. Either that, or I really didn’t like Fin or the plot line. It was probably the plot line, but I persevered. I’m not the biggest fan of the fake engagement plotline, which generally has a big enough hole that you could drive a bus thru. I could see some of the ending early on (apart from the obvious real engagement) but there are other areas that out-weighed the fake. About half-way into the book, the secondary characters really started to shine and I enjoyed the second half way more than the first. Fin’s behaviour at the end of their school life was explained, Jeremy’s got a big twist coming (book six, Cindy?) and the family relationships were further fleshed out. As a series, the characters aren’t out-of-place as we move from book to book and it’s progressing nicely. I’d rate it 3 1/2 stars.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher and am voluntarily reviewing it. As per, I don’t seek to fund this blog, but pre-order links & more about the series are available on the Author site http://www.cindykirk.com/ Forever In Good Hope releases on August 15th (so 16th if you’re in New Zealand, like me).

June WIPocalypse

WIPocalypse is a monthly DIY SAL hosted by Melissa over at measi.net This is my third year of formal participation & it’s something I definitely high-light in my planner. Click on the icon on the right to join up, or see links to other participants.

Let’s review June’s goals:

  • Finish Emi, my portion of Julie’s round robin (Stitch From Stash “Finish it Up” SAL) – COMPLETED
  • Finish Andromeda – or at least get the conversion nutted out & rock completed – ACHIEVED! COMPLETED THE CONVERSION DETAIL & ROCK. And as of last night, Baby Got Back.
  • Work at least one day on MH Believe (Stitch Maynia Whine & WIPs SAL) – ACHIEVED

It’s just as well that I didn’t list “stay in budget” for Stitch From Stash as I’ve blown it. In the last month, too, of Part A, but I should be golden for the whole year. I was out at our Panmure store and just oops! Ribbon Rose was open. All I actually needed was a $3.90 pack of beads for Andromeda (03035, they might not work but they are pretty so I’ll use them somewhere), but I browsed. I never hardly ever get the chance to browse with no-one breathing down my neck or whining that I am spending too long or that they are hungry/thirsty/bored. So I took advantage of that to kit out the Mia Mermaid, the (yucky shop) freebie from the recent Mira meet-up. I had a fairly specific idea about the dyed threads that I wanted to use for the tail, but once I started laying things out I moved from the suggested to other Waterlillies, and then I turned around. A wall of Gentle Arts Sampler Threads (often abbreviated to GAST). Heaven could be a needlework store, right?

Mia-Mermaid-MirabiliaSo here’s my current thought process. Of course I’ll use Kreinik silver instead of the suggested DMC metallic, which goes without saying!

For her hair, sub from the dark DMC 3031 to GAST Dark Chocolate (1170). For the lighter portion, sub from CWL 137 Copper to GAST Toffee (7078).

For her tail, moving from the darker shades to the light:

  • CWL 083 Pine Forrest to GAST Pine (0120)
  • CWL 207 Bermuda Reef to GAST Mistletoe (0113)
  • DMC 958 to GAST Silver Fern (0114)
  • DMC 964 to GAST Evergreen (0150).

I like the subtleness of the dye difference compared to the wilder variations in the Waterlillies. I also won’t be stitching the lettering, but I’m thinking about keeping the year.

I also picked up the Mill Hill/Sandra Cozzolino Renaissance Santa (Florence) with his gorgeous painting but it was $27.90NZD which is a hideous price. At least there are the materials to stitch him at least twice – once for Lou and once for me.

MD151_40284On top of that spend, I purchased some things thru Down Sunshine Lane (www.downsunshinelane.com) who are amazing. They had the 3 new Mill Hill/Sandra Cozzolino Santas for 2017 at a reduced pre-sell, so I ordered those, and a Lizzie Kate Coffee design, and after everything was confirmed, the new Nora mermaid was released so I emailed the team, and they added that one to my package! I am in love with the Renaissance Mermaid. And with the top-notch service. It was so much better than 123, who charged me freight TWICE cause they split an order. I would have preferred an option to cancel as $12USD for a $7USD kit is not really worth it!

So onto July’s goals.

  • No stitchy spend (even framing).
  • Start & complete MH Christmas Island Santa (as that chart & leftovers are going to Michelle #sprinklestitchykindness Garrette, & she’s sending me Hawaii)
  • Finish Andromeda. Before I start Renaissance.
  • Kit up & grid for August start, Nantucket Rose, with Dena (half stitch) & Emily C (eclectic possessions) on Flosstube/IG. Which really means – decide on fabric. Hint of Autumn (mine is lighter than the sample) or blue? Dawn or full daylight?

 

Question of the month: Show us your Stitchy Spot!

So – not a question but the reason I’ve delayed posting this by a week. Si decided that he wanted a new chair, so we went looking. Two weekend’s searching narrowed me down to this: the modern Wingback from Freedom Furniture. High back, short-ish seat (I don’t have long legs and don’t want my feet hanging over!), decent padding and nice feet (that I can change out later if I want). All the frames in the lounge are black so the material will do for now. I’ll likely change it out in a few years tho. Mase helped me put the base on – he’s a natural!