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Find your craft…: Book Review

confessions - Find your craft...: Book Review Confessions From The Quilting Circle
Maisey Yates
Women's fiction, Contemporary fiction
Mills & Boon
(4 May 2021)
four star - Find your craft...: Book Review

It takes secrets of the heart to unlock their future The Ashwood sisters have never had anything in common. Except their ability to keep secrets. But when their grandmother dies they must all return to their hometown to clear her estate… and face up to the reasons they all left. Lark has been running away from her past for years. But now finally she must face up to the secret she's been hiding…and the man she's never stopped loving? Hannah spent her whole childhood dreaming of escaping and she plans to leave as soon as she can. Until she comes face to face with the only man who's ever been able to distract her… Avery has built the perfect life in her hometown. But can she carry on paying the price of perfection? Or will the support of her sisters help her find a different version of perfect? The Ashwood family must learn to heal. But first they must learn to trust each other like never before…

The heartwarming, feel-good romance of 2021 of family secrets and finding your happy ever after. Perfect for fans of Veronica Henry and Robyn Carr’s Virgin River.

A book about strong women and their relationships with a family set of dynamics. Being multi-generational we see issues from many different different viewpoints. The skills and emotional mindsets of the different characters also combine to enliven the storyline.

Quilting Circles are quite traditional in certain areas within the USA. In fact, the Encyclopaedia of the Great Plains University says that quilting served as a means to connect women within the Great Plains. They connected them also with their past homelands especially through using traditional patterns, and they also gave women an ‘acceptable’ creative outlet as the object they were making was practical. Quilts would be made, as with rag rugs, from scraps of fabric from discarded clothing. No piece of fabric could be discarded as it was too expensive to purchase new.

Quilts were given to mark important life events such as marriage, the birth of a child, a family member leaving home, or graduations. And often had particular patterns associated. For instance, for a marriage the quilt might be of interlocking rings: this was thought to come to America through German immigrants, as during an engagement the man wore one ring, the woman the other, and after marriage she wore both.

quiltmarry - Find your craft...: Book Review
Double ring Pattern example

Another type of quilt, often made now, is as a going away to University/College gift. Fabric from the child’s clothing through the years would be put together in a suitable pattern (or not – there is a ‘Crazy’ pattern) as a reminder of home life and family.

Modern quilts are often pieces of exquisite art and not intended for use on a bed, but rather as a wall hanging, and may have applique and embroidery on them.

artquilt - Find your craft...: Book Review

Here the Quilt is used as the device that brings the family of women together and enables their reconciliation and sharing of secrets brought about by the trust engendered in sharing of a delicate craft.

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A Woman and a Van

van - A Woman and a Van Go: One Woman. One Van. A New Beginning.
by Stacy Fisher
Nonfiction (Adult) | Travel
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 5 Dec 2020
four star - A Woman and a Van

Have you ever faced a life-changing decision?

You won’t always know you’re ready until you’re ready, but when you’re ready, you’ll go.

When it became clear that my marriage was ending, I felt paralyzed and overwhelmed. In an attempt to simplify my life, I bought a Sprinter van, pared down my possessions to only what would fit inside it, and set out on a spontaneous drive across the country to explore new possibilities for my life.

Travel is good medicine.

During my cross-country trip, I grieved. I wrestled with forgiveness. And I slowly reclaimed my sense of personal sovereignty.

LivingUpp is a participant in affiliate programs, which means we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases on affiliate links to Amazon.

In Go: One Woman. One Van. A New Beginning*, I share some of my greatest lessons from the road, and how I transitioned from living in survival mode to becoming the designer of my life.

image 7 - A Woman and a Van

This is a true story told by the author about her drive and stay in a van to find where she would go next after her divorce – her 2nd as it happens.

Initially, she just had the bare van – with nothing in it but some furniture for a sink – with 2 bottles of water – fresh and grey in the cupboard under it and a camping mattress and boxes of her belongings.

She was lucky in that as she travelled from Washington State to Florida in this van, she had friends she could call into to have a night on a real bed and a proper shower rather than any that she could find in a campsite. She did have plenty of experience of camping and van type travelling luckily, even though her van was not tricked out properly. By the end of her journey her van looked more like the one pictured above as she had some building work done and also she and her Dad did some work on it.

What surprised me, being in the UK, was that she had lots of doctor visits before she set off as travelling from state to state on her journey she had no health care insurance if anything happened to her. I am so thankful for our health service and the arrangements we have in Europe too…

One thing I found very interesting, and that made me realise that I needed, was her daily habit of journaling. Gratitude journaling. I had heard about it before but as someone who has survived what could have been an extremely serious illness and is now still unwell and will need to take a lot of care for the rest of my life, I need to work more on gratitude and less on negativity as to what has been taken away from me. Her 8 dimensions of self-care are also interesting as I been told to take more time on my self-care by several health professionals, so it was interesting to see what she means by it.

Stacy lives and talks about her self-care and has a website that she plugs but overall I was disappointed that her van journey was short and whilst she ‘explored’ on her journey, the places she visited were really obvious tourist sites.

This could have been a better book in my opinion as Stacy really uses it to plug her business and I wonder about her motivation in writing it and whether she had decided to do this before she started the journey. But still the style was good and easy to read.

STACY FISHER is a registered dietitian, lifestyle coach, health & travel writer, and speaker with more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. As the founder of LivingUpp, she teaches women how to build a solid self-care foundation using a unique framework and planning system that she developed. Her methodology empowers women to simplify their lifestyles, so they can experience more ease and better health. Stacy has been featured in The Costco Connection and is the author of three other books, including The Lifestyle Design Planner.

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Sweet and Sour

WLGYL cover - Sweet and Sour When Life Gives You Lemons
Fiona Gibson
Romance, Humour, Marriage, Family
Avon,
four star - Sweet and Sour

Sometimes life can be bittersweet . . . Between tending to the whims of her seven-year-old and the demands of her boss, Viv barely gets a moment to herself. It’s not quite the life she wanted, but she hasn’t run screaming for the hills yet. But then Viv’s husband Andy makes his mid-life crisis her problem. He’s having an affair with his (infuriatingly age-appropriate) colleague, a woman who – unlike Viv – doesn’t put on weight when she so much as glances at a cream cake. Viv suddenly finds herself single, with zero desire to mingle. Should she be mourning the end of life as she knows it, or could this be the perfect chance to put herself first? When life gives you lemons, lemonade just won’t cut it. Bring on the gin!

WLGYL blog tour banner Part One 1024x576 - Sweet and Sour

A fun but yet serious book about what happens when a mid-life crisis hits – often the husband in a marriage, and how the wife deals with it.

Especially difficult when you have a late and unplanned child at Primary School and you are not a young mother …

And then you have a boss who seems incapable of doing anything at all for herself – she takes the concept of personal assistant just a tad too far… personal can be too personal you know?

Viv is capable of more, and wants to do more but life seems to have been stacked against her – until she finds that her husband leaving her brings out her strong side and she makes that elusive lemonade.

I enjoyed reading this book. Fiona always gives you a good giggle whilst making some serious points about how women are capable of so much more than they appear to others. Required reading for wives who leave far too much to husbands – or alternatively, let husbands do far too much. It’s fine to put yourself front and centre from time to time girls…

About the Author

Biography

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Fiona Gibson is the author of 15 romantic comedy novels, including the best-selling The Mum Who Got Her Life Back (Avon), which celebrates the empty nester years. Under the name of Ellen Berry, she also writes the heartwarming Rosemary Lane series (Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane is out in January 2020).

Fiona grew up in West Yorkshire, before working on Jackie and Just Seventeen magazines – in those heady pre-internet days when it was thrilling to get a free plastic mirror taped to the front of your magazine. She went on to edit More! magazine, where she introduced the infamous Position of the Fortnight. After having twin sons and a daughter, Fiona started to write novels, usually at night with the house full of toddlers and builders. She was sleep deprived anyway so it really didn’t make any difference.

She also loves to draw, paint and run – by some miracle she managed to finish the London Marathon 2019. With the kids all grown up now, she and her husband Jimmy live in Glasgow with their collie cross, Jack.

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Curvy wins

fat - Curvy wins Fat Girl
(Romance in Reheboth #1)
KL Montgomery
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition
(5 April 2015)
four star - Curvy wins

Fresh ink on her divorce papers and a new job on the horizon. Forty is right around the corner. The time is ripe for reinvention, and Claire Sterling is tired of being the Fat Girl. With the help of her gay best friend, therapist, a new fitness regime and lots of wine and snark, Claire sets out to find her happily ever after.

Will she get the body and the man of her dreams, or is she forever destined to be the Fat Girl?

I have 2 essential points to make:

  1. always wear 2 bras when undertaking sport – even the slimmest with small boobs do I’ve noticed. And make sure they are proper sports bras too.
  2. build up the exercise slowly. Only add when it becomes easy.

What is curvy and what is slim is one of the biggest dilemmas in a women’s life today. I just read an article by someone about the No Diet way of eating – she reckons that we don’t need to diet – and then proceeds to give us instructions on how to eat, when to eat, what to eat and how much to eat. If anything is a diet that is – and her own weight just scrapes into the healthy range at 18.7 (% fat), so whilst she has some good ideas – it’s still a diet to reduce weight to the lowest you ‘should be’ to be considered healthy.

I think she has a point about calories though, as counting them makes you feel guilty the whole time. And that is what we have here. Another book where the heroine is overweight and has struggled all her life to lose weight and she has a mother who remains extremely thin – but eats nothing – and makes her feel guilty because she eats. And constantly reminds her of her weight – which is not the way to go of course.

And then we do have a romance. But will he still love her if she loses weight?

I did enjoy the book even though the storyline was not really new. It was nice take on this trope with fun and humour and a nice heroine you feel for.

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