Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Review: Confessions from the Quilting Circle

 Confessions from the Quilting Circle

About the Book:

When Lark Ashwood’s beloved grandmother dies, she and her sisters discover an unfinished quilt. Finishing it could be the reason Lark’s been looking for to stop running from the past, but is she ever going to be brave enough to share her biggest secret with the people she ought to be closest to?

Hannah can’t believe she’s back in Bear Creek, the tiny town she sacrificed everything to escape from. The plan? Help her sisters renovate her grandmother’s house and leave as fast as humanly possible. Until she comes face-to-face with a man from her past. But getting close to him again might mean confessing what really drove her away...

Stay-at-home mom Avery has built a perfect life, but at a cost. She’ll need all her family around her, and all her strength, to decide if the price of perfection is one she can afford to keep paying.

This summer, the Ashwood women must lean on each other like never before, if they are to stitch their family back together, one truth at a time...

My Comments:

There was a lot to like in this book, which is why I stayed up to 1:00 a.m. on a work  night reading it.  Three sisters and their mother are working together to close out their grandmother/mother's estate. While cleaning out the house they find fabric for a quilt that Grandma never got around to making and through journals found with the fabric, learn about women in their family's past, including Grandma.  Each of the four women was working with a different piece of fabric and of course they all end up with the one that they really needed to see, the ancestress who had a story that for whatever reason, came close to hers.  

Lark and Hannah both left town with secrets, and Avery has now acquired one.  As they sit and sew and as they live their lives that summer, they share their secrets and gain the strength to move beyond them.  Unfortunately to me, it seemed there were just too many secrets that were just too serious to believe they all belonged to one family.  Also the book had two romantic subplots and except for the fact that the men had different names and one man had a child and the other didn't, I really couldn't tell them apart.  Either of the romance subplots was believable on its own, but having two so similar just didn't ring true to me.
One thing I liked about the book was that the girls' mother was a strong secondary character.  While the sisters were in their 30's, their mom was about my age and she was a doer, like me.  Like me she wanted to be closer to her grown kids but didn't quite know how to reach out.  Like I hope I'd be, she was there for her girls when the chips were down and she knew they needed her. 
The book has a couple of bedroom scenes--too much to make it a "clean" romance but nothing anywhere near an instruction manual.  
I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade: B 

Monday, May 03, 2021

It's Monday: What Are You Reading


Hello to my fellow book bloggers who have stopped by via It's Monday, What Are You Reading over at Book Date.  I'm late getting this up, but I was busy reading yesterday.  The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan was wonderful--review will be published this week or next.  

I spent Saturday afternoon in a mother-daughter bonding exercise with my teen--she's being confirmed this week and we needed a dress.  We hit every store in the mall before deciding to take the one she saw in the first store.  

My daughter is a Junior and last week was the Seniors' last week, so now they are the big girls on campus.  I got an email from the school today about ordering her senior hair bow (they wear them 2 or three times) and I've already ordered her sweater (the seniors wear different sweaters than the other girls) so I guess my last go-around as the mom of a senior is really happening.  

I had two book reviews this week:

I've been staying off NetGalley because I really don't need anymore books in the TBR stack.  However, this morning I grabbed

So how has your week been?  What was the best book you read this week? 

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Review of A Song for the Road by Kathleen Basi


About the Book:

It's one year after the death of her husband and twin teenagers, and Miriam Tedesco has lost faith in humanity and herself. When a bouquet of flowers that her husband always sends on their anniversary shows up at her workplace, she completely unravels. With the help of her best friend, she realizes that it's time to pick up the pieces and begin to move on. Step one is not even cleaning out her family's possessions, but just taking inventory starting with her daughter's room. But when she opens her daughter's computer, she stumbles across a program her daughter has created detailing an automated cross-country road trip, for her and her husband to take as soon-to-be empty nesters.

Seeing and hearing the video clips of her kids embedded in the program, Miriam is determined to take this trip for her children. Armed with her husband's guitar, her daughter's cello, and her son's unfinished piano sonata, she embarks on a musical pilgrimage to grieve the family she fears she never loved enough. Along the way she meets a young, pregnant hitchhiker named Dicey, whose boisterous and spunky attitude reminds Miriam of her own daughter.

Tornadoes, impromptu concerts, and an unlikely friendship...whether she's prepared for it or not, Miriam's world is coming back to life. But as she struggles to keep her focus on the reason she set out on this journey, she has to confront the possibility that the best way to honor her family may be to accept the truths she never wanted to face.

Hopeful, honest, and tender, A Song for the Road is about courage, vulnerability, and forgiveness, even of yourself, when it really matters.

My Comments:

I'm writing this post a week after a man who was very dear to my girls when they were babies was buried, a few days after the mom of a high school classmate--the mom who allowed homecoming floats to be built at her house for six years straight (which meant that she had 50+ teens there every night for a week)--was buried and the day after I heard that my pastor's mom died.  Despite the fact that we are in the holiday season, despite the fact that we are no longer close to that man, that the classmate was never a close friend of mine and that I'd best characterize my pastor as an acquaintance, having three deaths touch me during this supposedly joyful time of year has got me tearful.

How awful must it be to lose your whole family is one split second?  That's what happened to Miriam a year ago, and though she has buried much of her grief for the last year, something happens and now she knows she has to deal with it--and, as noted above, finds a program her daughter designed with the idea of sending her and her husband on a road trip.  

As Miriam travels across the country we learn about her family history and why things were not exactly how they appeared to outsiders.  We "see" some attractions that are not at the top of most people's "must see" list but which are interesting and charming in their own way (I've been to one of them several times, guess which one).  

The author, Kathleen Basi, is a composer and musician, along with being a writer, and she has made music a part of the story.  Miriam's son was a composer and left an unfinished piece, and she, who has spent her adult life as a church musician, is trying to finish it.  Basi uses terms known to musicians and which brought back memories of the piano class I took one semester in college, though I hadn't a clue what they meant--I just translated those passages as "she's writing fancy music now" and let it go at that.  Hopefully the words would mean more to a musician.  Her son's music wasn't the only unfinished business in the book, and Miriam's journey leads her to confront and deal with at least two big unfinished things.     I loved watching her journey not only through the country but through her grief and into the lives of others. 

I'll be the first to admit that my opinion of the book may be affected by the fact that the author, Kathleen Basi, is someone I've gotten to know via the internet.  I've watched her kids grow up and discussed the challenges of parenting special needs kids.  I've followed the Facebook page on which she has shared her progress with this book and now I'm glad to give this book an A, because it was an engaging read that touched my heart.  

I'd like to thank her publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.       

If you click on the book title in the labels below, you can read other things I've written about the book.                                                      

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Book Review: The Road to Rose Bend

 The Road to Rose Bend

About the Book:

Sydney Collins left the small Berkshires town of Rose Bend eight years ago, grieving her sister’s death—and heartbroken over her parents’ rejection. But now the rebel is back—newly divorced and pregnant—ready to face her fears and make a home for her child in the caring community she once knew. The last thing she needs is trouble. But trouble just set her body on fire with one hot, hot smile.

Widower and Rose Bend mayor Coltrane Dennison hasn’t smiled in ages. Until a chance run-in with Sydney Collins, who’s all grown-up and making him want what he knows he can’t have. Grief is his only connection to the wife and son he lost, and he won’t give it up. Not for Sydney, not for her child, not for his heart. But when Sydney’s ex threatens to upend everything she’s rebuilt in Rose Bend, Cole and Sydney may find that a little trouble will take them where they never expected to go.

My Comments:

 If you were looking for a sweet relatively clean romance, the cover of The Road to Rose Bend could make you think you'd found one, but you would be wrong.  While I enjoyed to story of Cole and Sydney, it was a very "physical" book.  The word "dick" was used 18 times in the book, and most of those references were not during bedroom scenes.  There were several bedroom scenes and they were vivid enough to serve as tutorials.  

Those looking for diversity in reading material may be interested in knowing that Sydney is Black and Cole is Puerto Rican (but adopted by a family of Irish heritage).  While his heritage is explicitly made clear early in the book, I was quite a ways into the book before I realized that she was African-American. 

I liked both Cole and Sydney and enjoyed watching them let go of old hurts and learn to love again but I didn't like all the crude references to male anatomy nor the front row seat on the bedroom action.  

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy via NetGalley.  Grade: B-

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