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review 2018-01-16 07:35
How to Speak Chicken
How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say - Melissa Caughey

This arrived today and I couldn't wait; I've been curious to read it since I first read about it pre-publication.

 

Sadly, it was not quite what I expected. 

 

Almost though.  The author does discuss what chickens are trying to communicate, and she covers a fair amount of anatomical/behavioural information about chooks (Aussie slang), but she's coming from an enthusiast's perspective, not a scientist's.  This is totally ok, but I was hoping for something a tad more in-depth and research based; this is more a 'chickens are wonderful and grossly underestimated' tome.  (She's right - they're hilarious individualists, and anyone who keeps one for more than 10 minutes will never underestimate them again.)

 

In spite of it not measuring up to my expectations, it's a lovely book overall and I did learn quite a bit more about chickens.  Turns out, I have 3 of the closest living relatives to T. Rex living in my back garden.  How cool is that?

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review 2018-01-16 05:57
Modern Embroidery
Tula Pink Coloring with Thread: Stitching a Whimsical World with Hand Embroidery - Tula Pink

Tula Pink Coloring with Thread is a nicely-produced book of embroidery lessons and patterns. Each pattern includes a stitched example which is important to stitchers deciding which design to choose and how their stitches should look. Patterns are clearly marked and easy to follow. Directions on each type of stitch are given with illustrations. The designs are stitched with Anchor threads, but most American stitchers use DMC as a default, so it would have been nice to have DMC equivalencies listed. (Never fear, conversion charts can be searched up online.) Many suggestions on finishing are provided. The designs are modern and would fit nicely with a retro/50s theme as well.

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review 2018-01-16 03:43
Light on romance, heavy on mystery
The Red Carnelian - Phyllis A. Whitney

I'm going to use this one for the "W" square in the Women Writer's Bingo Project. Originally published in 1969, this is a fairly early effort in Whitney's transition away from juvenile fiction into adult gothic style romance. It's set in a Chicago Department Store during the glory days of the window display industry. One of my favorite aspects of the book was this deep dive into the narrow historical moment during which window displays in department stores were a place for copywriters and artists to get paying work that got a lot of attention.

 

The main character, Linell, is a copywriter at Cunningham's, a Chicago Department Store. I pictured the old fashioned, multi-story department store, like Macy's, that took up a whole city block. Linell's former fiance, Michael Montgomery, who goes by Monty, is returning from a honeymoon with a different woman, after basically dumping Linell and running away. The book opens to the heroine trying to figure out how best to deal with the fact that the two of them, and his new wife, are all going to be working at Cunningham's.

 

It quickly becomes clear that there is trouble in paradise between Monty and his new bride, and by about page 35, someone has taken a golf club to Monty's head. I certainly can't say that he didn't deserve it, because he was clearly a total d-bag. 

 

This is really a closed circle mystery. It's well plotted, and there is a romantic sub-plot involving Linell and another young male employee at Cunningham's that isn't particularly convincing. There is one pretty solid suspenseful scene that occurs when Linnel is wandering around the mannequin storage area. 

 

At this point, I think that Open Road has reissued most, if not all, of her adult gothics. I found this one fairly enjoyable, but I think I'd like to dip my toe in one of her historicals next - I'm thinking Skye Cameron or Thunder Heights.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-01-16 01:32
Disappointing
The Cruel Prince - Holly Black
I'm not really sure if I liked this. I spent most of the book extremely disappointed. Holly Black is one of my favorite authors and I love the Fae but I wasn't liking most of this book. I don't like most of the characters, I wasn't into the story for most of the book and I torn about how I feel about Jude. I like a lot of things about her, I like that she was headstrong, that she wanted to be a knight and fought with a sword, I liked her anger and I like how her plan worked out, but she was also very frustrating and amazingly stupid. She constantly did the thing she was told not to or was advise against and then was surprised everytime it blow up in her face. I hated all of the romance in this book. Both with Locke and most of all with Carden. I completely hate Carden. The worst part was up until the last 60 pages the story was frustratingly predictable, I had a feeling where things were going and the fact I could so easily see what was coming and Jude couldn't, was so aggravating.
The story picked up at the end, I like how it ended and I can see the potential I hope the next book will be better.

 

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review 2018-01-16 01:04
Release Day Review: The Hockey Player's Heart by Jeff Adams and Will Knauss
The Hockey Player's Heart (Dreamspun Desires Book 50) - Jeff Adams,Will Knauss

I liked this story about an out hockey player who in his teens nursed a crush on his older sister's best friend who was also his geometry tutor. Who's now a teacher at the same school where his sister is the principal. 

After an injury, hockey player Caleb Carter returns to his home town of Foster Grove to recuperate and hang out with his sister before going back to NYC to play for the Rangers. He doesn't realize that his one-time teenage crush Aaron Price now works as a teacher for his sister, but is shook when he finds out. That teenage crush he thought he was over - yeah, not so much. So Caleb pursues Aaron - inviting the slightly older man on a date and makes his interest clearly known. 

Aaron is a bit gun-shy to date another athlete after one broke his heart back in California, but Caleb is persistent, and every argument Aaron brings up that a relationship between them wouldn't work, Caleb counters. And obviously, there's a spark for Aaron too. 

The plot doesn't have any big misunderstandings nor any obvious miscommunications, and both men are open and honest about their interest, even if Aaron isn't convinced this thing between them will be anything more than a short-lived romance. 

We get a glimpse into Aaron's life as a teacher, and Caleb's life with his hockey team (gotta love Dimitri, what a great friend), and also the school's hockey team. The kids were an added bonus, and I enjoyed watching Caleb and Aaron interact.

The drama in this story comes primarily from Aaron, shy, cautious Aaron, who doesn't think he fits in with Caleb's life as a star hockey player, so he finds excuse after stupid excuse to not fully give the relationship a real chance. 

I liked Caleb a lot. He was so honest and straight-forward, and so open about how he felt and what he wanted, but also not pushy - he gave Aaron time to come around to his way of thinking. And really, three hours drive isn't a deal-breaker for most people, especially since there's an off-season to consider. Aaron is just gun-shy, which I could understand, but I also didn't think it was fair of him to think that all athletes are alike. Aaron had some self-esteem issues too - again, understandable, after being treated like so badly by the California jerk. 

There is definitely chemistry between the two men, and we are treated to some steamy yet emotional scenes between them. This being a Dreamspun Desires title, I expected a grand gesture toward the end - and yeah, I got that. Lovely scene, that.

The entire story and relationship development takes place in just a few weeks' time, which might be too fast for some, but in this case, I believed the timeline from meet-cute to HEA, because the two men knew each other from high school, and both had a bit of a crush on each other - it was easy to see how that spark might be kindled to burst into flame. 

This was my first read by this author team, even though I own the Hat Trick series by Jeff Adams in paperback, which obviously I need to read. Apparently, there will be another book which will be about Dimitri, Caleb's friend and teammate. And judging by how Dimitri feels about romance and long-term relationships in general, I cannot wait to read that one!

Give this a try. While there's a lot of hockey in the book, the romance and relationship take center stage.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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