Saturday, June 30, 2012

Book Review: The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil

The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn ClubThe Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I expected when I started this book and at first I didn’t think I was going to like it.  There really isn’t a lot of meat to the story and there is a lot of unnecessary language.  Copious use of the “F” word, a lot of British slang, etc.  Not sure it added to the story, but perhaps that’s how they talk in Britain.  In the end, it didn’t really turn me off from the story.

The book focuses on the life of Jo MacKenzie, who is moving to a seaside community from the city to take over her Grandmother’s yarn shop.  She’s an avid knitter and recent widow.  Her grief is made worse to explain because her marriage was less than stellar and her husband wound up dying before an end could be put to the marriage.

The move turns out to be a good thing.  Her best friend Ellen, a well known reporter, is a frequent visitor from the city.  She meets new friends, including a movie star, which brings her more into community involvement, which helps her move forward after her husband's death.  The movie star part sounds outrageous, but that developing friendship is done very well.

The story is basically Jo and friends muddling through life.  There’s bit of romance and some family drama (Jo’s mother is somewhat of a flake), but it’s all about getting on with life.

I enjoyed the characters in the book, even the dog Trevor.  Have I mentioned that Jo is the mother of two boys?  Well, she is.  And, after reading this book, I’m doubly glad that I have no children and can’t imagine that this would inspire anyone to run out and have them.  I’m guessing, though, this is a fairly accurate portrayal of life with two small boys, no sugar coating.  They weren't little terrors per se, but very active.

Having said, all of this, I very much enjoyed this book and plan on reading the other two books in this series.  And, you don't to have to knit to enjoy it.  I don’t knit and after reading all about Jo’s yarn shop and knitting society, I kind of want to learn.  If you’re looking for a pleasant read, then give this title a try.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review: Better Read Than Dead (Psychic Eye Mystery #2) by Victoria Laurie

Better Read Than Dead (Psychic Eye Mystery, #2)Better Read Than Dead by Victoria Laurie
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I very much enjoyed the first book in this series (Psychic Eye), however, this book was somewhat of a disappointment.  Abby, the main character, comes across a little too dumb for her own good or just plain flaky.  She agrees to help out a fellow psychic with a wedding gig, only to find out part of the way through that it’s a mob wedding.  So, they bail.  Yes, they just leave the wedding.  Which, of course, brings them to the attention of the mob because, you know, they bailed on a gig for which they’d already been paid.  Or rather, friend had been paid, but he had a dispute with his significant other and headed out of state - with the money.  Through a series of events, Abby is then picked by the mob boss to be his new psychic and help him find his long missing wife and a successor to his fortune.

The side story is the police asking for help to find a rapist, then not listening to her, which of course proves fatal for the next victim.  Seriously, the cop all but begs for her help, then insist she’s wrong and they’re right.

What happens from here on is just a series of events that is just one bad thing after another.  Really, just one horrible thing after another piled onto Abby, who is hell bent on telling no one that the mob is terrorizing her into helping them.  Not only did I find a good part of the book implausible, but I really didn’t think anyone could be as naive (I’m tempted to say stupid, but am going with naive) as to try and handle things as Abby did.

Throw in a badly done romance with Dutch and another small story line that, in my opinion, really added nothing, and you have a book that just seemed to be never ending in it’s misery.

Everything, of course, is resolved and actually it all ties together, though it was a bit sloppy, and after the rest of the book seemed a bit rushed.  Naturally, everyone comes out okay in the end.  I’m not at all sure I’ll read the next book in this series as this one was just a bit over the top.

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