Crescendo by Amy Weiss

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source: Free review copy via Amazon Vine
title: Crescendo
author: Amy Weiss (Twitter)
published: Hay House, Inc. May 2, 2017
pages: 208
genre: fiction/magical realism
first line: Once upon a time-
rated: 5 out of 5 stars amazing
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blurb:
“Til death do us part,” Aria and her husband swore. But death came much too soon.

When tragedy strikes one summer night, everything is taken from Aria: her family, her future. Desperate to find meaning in life after loss, she and her beloved mare leave their home in search of something—anything. It feels like the end of her life. It is the beginning.

If she can find her way through the forest of grief, she will discover an incredible adventure waiting on the other side. Hers is no ordinary journey—it is a journey into the nature of the soul. Each step takes her further into uncharted lands. The cave of darkness. The lake of time. The human heart. Each place she goes and each person she meets has a new lesson to teach her, and soon she comes to learn the most astounding one of all: her loved ones have never left her. They are with her throughout the lifetimes. They are eternal and immortal.

And so is she.

And so are we.

My thoughts:
I finished reading Crescendo last week and I am still thinking about it.
This is a beautifully told story about life, loss, grief and love. It is a small world because years ago I read Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives by Brian Weiss, who I found out is Amy Weiss’ father. If you haven’t read Many Lives, Many Masters I recommend it also, it is an incredible true story about past life experiences and reincarnation. Anyway, I’m digressing here a bit. Crescendo also revolves around the idea of past lives. Isn’t the cover pretty? It matches the story perfectly. As I was taking that picture, my dog Huey photo bombed it, top left. He has perfect timing.

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Things We Lost in the Fire Stories by Mariana Enríquez

thingssource: ARC via AmazonVine
title: Things We Lost in the Fire
auhtor: Mariana Enriquez
published: Hogarth (February 21, 2017)
pages: 200
genre: short stories/fiction/mystery/suspense
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Macabre, disturbing and exhilarating, Things We Lost in the Fire is a collection of twelve short stories that use fear and horror to explore multiple dimensions of life in contemporary Argentina. From women who set themselves on fire in protest of domestic violence to angst-ridden teenage girls, friends until death do they part, to street kids and social workers, young women bored of their husbands or boyfriends, to a nine-year-old serial killer of babies and a girl who pulls out her nails and eyelids in the classroom, to hikikomori, abandoned houses, black magic, northern Argentinean superstition, disappearances, crushes, heartbreak, regret and compassion. This is a strange, surreal and unforgettable collection by an astonishing new talent asking vital questions of the world as we know it.

my thoughts:
Things We Lost in the Fire is a quiet, intense and at times disturbing collection of 12 short stories. I dipped in and out of this one intermittently. I’ll cover a few of the stories here in my post.

The Dirty Kid was about a woman who lives in an old house handed down to her by her family. The neighborhood in Buenos Aires which used to be nice, is now seedy and riddled with crime. A five-year old child and his drug addicted mother are homeless and sleep on dirty mattresses in the neighborhood. The narrator here cannot help but become involved and tries to help the five-year old.

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200 Fun Things to Crochet

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source: free copy courtesy of St. Martin’s Press
title: 200 Fun Things to Crochet: Decorative Flowers, Leaves, Bugs, Butterflies, and More!
published: St. Martin’s Griffin (February 7, 2017)
genre: crochet/crafting
rated: 5 out of 5
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blurb:
If you ever find yourself wondering what to crochet next, then just open this book, and you’re guaranteed to find the answer. 200 Fun Things to Crochet is an irresistible collection of cute little crochet projects for all levels of ability. Containing a mix of beautiful projects inspired by nature―crochet flowers, birds, bugs, leaves, and even sea creatures―as well as a collection of charming floral squares, you’ll want to pick up your hook, sort through your yarn stash, and get started right away.

The 200 projects are quick to make, use hardly any yarn, and are perfect as stylish embellishments, to give away as a gift or to keep for yourself!
200 Fun Things to Crochet combines the work of four bestselling designers:

LESLEY STANFIELD is the author of 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet and 75 Birds, Butterflies, & Little Beasts to Knit & Crochet.

BETTY BARNDEN is the author of 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet.

JESSICA POLKA is the author of 75 Seashells, Fish, Coral & Colorful Marine Life to Knit & Crochet.

KRISTIN NICHOLAS is the author of 50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt.

my thoughts:
Happy Saturday everyone, Spring is in the air here with unseasonably warm weather this past week. Today I thought I’d share my thoughts on a crochet pattern book that has recently become a favorite.
200 Fun Things to Crochet: Decorative Flowers, Leaves, Bugs, Butterflies, and More! has a nice variety of crochet patterns all inspired by nature. The patterns are divided into sections for flowers, plants, sea life, critters and blocks. The section titled “Flower Garden” has patterns for a variety of pretty flowers like Chrysanthemum, Narcissus, Marigold and Forget-Me-Not. There is also a special section of various beautiful Sunflower patterns.

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Every Which Way Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman

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source: ARC courtesy of NetGalley
title: Every Which Way Crochet Borders: 139 Patterns for Customized Edgings by Edie Eckman
published: January 24, 2017
pages: 224
rated: 5 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Step-by-step instructions and symbol charts put these 100 creative new border designs within reach for beginning and advanced crocheters alike. If you’re ready to chart your own crocheted course, Edie Eckman offers plenty of helpful design advice, including how to choose an appropriate border for each project and how to incorporate an element from the main stitch pattern into a new border design. She then explains, with the help of close-up photos, how the same pattern can have dramatically different results depending on the weight of the yarn. With each pattern diagrammed to approach in both rounds and rows, Every Which Way Crochet Borders is an inventive and invaluable resource.

my thoughts:
What a fantastic resource Every Which Way Crochet Borders: 139 Patterns for Customized Edgings by Edie Eckman for crocheters is!

The patterns are clear and varied, the photos are crisp and detailed and the book itself is well organized. The edge patterns all have diagrams as well, which is a wonderful touch. For a crocheter looking for nice border patterns, this book is an absolute gem. I know personally that when I am looking for a border pattern to give my project a finishing touch it can be hard to find a good one. The edging patterns here are unique and varied, there are plenty of ideas.

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Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss

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source: free review copy via Amazon Vine
title: Tuesday Nights in 1980
author: Molly Prentiss
genre: fiction
published: 2016
pages: 317
first line: The meetings happen on Tuesdays, in the basement of Cafe Crocodile.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
A transcendent debut novel that follows a critic, an artist, and a desirous, determined young woman as they find their way—and ultimately collide—amid the ever-evolving New York City art scene of the 1980’s.

Welcome to SoHo at the onset of the eighties: a gritty, not-yet-gentrified playground for artists and writers looking to make it in the big city. Among them: James Bennett, a synesthetic art critic for The New York Times whose unlikely condition enables him to describe art in profound, magical ways, and Raul Engales, an exiled Argentinian painter running from his past and the Dirty War that has enveloped his country. As the two men ascend in the downtown arts scene, dual tragedies strike, and each is faced with a loss that acutely affects his relationship to life and to art. It is not until they are inadvertently brought together by Lucy Olliason—a small town beauty and Raul’s muse—and a young orphan boy sent mysteriously from Buenos Aires, that James and Raul are able to rediscover some semblance of what they’ve lost.

my thoughts:
An AmazonVine find, the cover and title on Tuesday Nights in 1980 captured my interest straight away, as did the New York setting. This is a story about three people, Lucy, Raul and James and how their lives intersect.

I enjoyed the 1980’s NYC setting and found that the author wove the art scene into the storyline really nicely.

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