Book Review : The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

I picked up a copy of The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie MacomberThe Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber a long time ago, eager to read this first in a series that seems wildly popular. But then for one reason or another, it just sat there, waiting for my attention in a bookshelf already crowded with stiff competition. It was on my list for the Spring Reading Thing in 2010 and I never managed to get around to it so I added it to my Fall into Reading challenge this year, determined to finally pick it up. It took me awhile but I finally did it!

Here’s a description of the book from goodreads.com:

There’s a little yarn shop on Blossom Street in Seattle. It’s owned by Lydia Hoffman, and it represents her dream of a new life free from cancer. A life that offers a chance at love . . .

Lydia teaches knitting to beginners, and the first class is “How to Make a Baby Blanket.” Three women join. Jacqueline Donovan wants to knit something for her grandchild as a gesture of reconciliation with her daughter-in-law. Carol Girard feels that the baby blanket is a message of hope as she makes a final attempt to conceive. And Alix Townsend is knitting her blanket for a court-ordered community service project.

These four very different women, brought together by an age-old craft, make unexpected discoveries — about themselves and each other. Discoveries that lead to friendship and more . . .

Although it did feel a bit predictable and formulaic at times, I enjoyed reading this book and found myself rooting for each of the characters and their desired outcomes. It was a nice light read, despite some rather heavy material. This is not a work of amazing literature. You will probably figure out the twists and turns coming before the characters do, although sometimes I think that’s half the fun – feeling maybe a little proud of yourself for being one step ahead?

This book will make you think, will make you care for characters you didn’t like at first (clearly part of Macomber’s master plan) and you will probably blow through it quickly as you quickly become a bit addicted as the story goes on. I found it made for a quick enjoyable read and I’ll likely pick up another of her books at some point in the future.

Have you read any of Macomber’s books? What do you think of them?

FIR '10: Question #7 Becoming a Reader

Fall Into Reading 2010 @ Callapidder DaysAs part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge, Katrina @ Callapidder Days has decided to post a weekly question related to the challenge.

She writes, “I thought it would be a great way to keep Fall Into Reading participants connected throughout the course of the challenge.”

Here’s the question for this week:

How did you get into reading? When and how/why did you really become “a reader”?

I think I can quite safely thank my grandmother for my love of reading. I’m not sure when I became first interested in reading but I can vividly remember how much she encouraged in and helped me to foster the interest. One of my favorite early reading memories is of going to the library with her when I was still young enough to be reading mostly picture books, though I quickly moved on to early chapter books. I asked her on one of those first trips, after getting my very own library card, how many books I was allowed to get, already seeing many many books that I wanted and having a hard time deciding.

The library, at least in those days, didn’t actually have a limit. You could check out as many as you wanted. But  I think she knew I needed a number or else she was just being silly, because she told me “seventeen books” – and not realizing it was a joke, I believed her and picked out exactly seventeen books that day and many many days thereafter. I remember the librarian being both impressed with my math skills and also at how quickly I plowed through that stack of books! (I don’t think anyone has been impressed with my math skills since, coincidentally)

How about you? When did you first truly become “a reader”?

Because I'm crazy.

And I couldn’t wait any longer. I’ve been sitting on this story idea for awhile now, waiting for all the pieces to come together. For the right timing, where things are calmed down and life is relatively easy and adventure free so I could really devote myself to this and do it right. But then  I thought, “Really. That time is never coming. It doesn’t exsist.”

And then sitting here reading about all of you fantastic Nanowrimo participants, chugging along, making your writing dreams come true while I sit here with a perfectly good, maybe even great story idea but not writing because why? Because I’m worried I’ll ruin it, take a good story and make it contrite and dumb and poorly written. Because I don’t think I’ve got enough time. There’s no way I can write 50,000 words by November 30, especially starting 4 days late.

But better late than never. Better 15,000 or 30,000 or god even 50,000 than nothing. I’m a little over 2,000 words in now today, already past my personal goal of 2,000 and Nanowrimo’s recommendation of 1667. Of course I’ll need to write about 6,667 words to catch up with everyone else’s expected averages but you know, I’ll get there. Or something.

What’s my story about? Well of course it’s still in the early stages. I haven’t decided if it’s young adult or mainstream fiction but it’s sort of disutopian / post war meets romance I guess. I feel like that sounds awfully done but I like it. It came to me in a dream, which sounds so perfect and cliched. I’m enjoying it so far.

Anyone else writing a novel this month? You can friend me here (username mommablogsalot if that link doesn’t work) and we can cheer each other on!

– update – I’m a little over 4,000 words in now. If I can write the same amount tomorrow I’ll be essentially caught up with the pack. And I may write more today if I have time / inspiration.

FIR '10 Question # 6 : Where you LOVE to Read

Fall Into Reading 2010 @ Callapidder DaysAs part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge, Katrina @ Callapidder Days has decided to post a weekly question related to the challenge.

She writes, “I thought it would be a great way to keep Fall Into Reading participants connected throughout the course of the challenge.”

Here’s the question for this week:

Where do you love to read? Note: I don’t mean where do you actually do most of your reading, because that might be the carpool line, the work cafeteria, or even the bathroom (if you have to escape from a few small children in order to read a chapter of your book). I mean, what are a few of the places where you LOVE to read?

We live in a fairly small apartment with only so many rooms and no real outdoors to speak of. Sure we have a balcony, it overlooks a busy street, has an excellent view of the liquor store and usually smells like cigarettes because our neighbor is a smoker. Not ideal.

  • The only thing I read in our kitchen is cookbooks. I’m guessing that’s true of most people. I don’t read at the dining room table either, preferring a comfy place to sit while I read so I can block out “the rest of the world” and not think about my butt hurting.
  • I almost never read in the living room because there are so many distractions – computer, tv, loud children, husband – vying for my attention.
  • I’m not one of those bathroom reading people. Sometimes I wish I was, I might spend all day in there. But I’m not.
  • I do read to my children in their bedrooms, mostly the four year old’s room still, and I do love it, but I wouldn’t go in there to read a book of mine.
  • That leaves… my bedroom. Where I do the majority of my reading, and I suppose you could say I love it. I get to lay down, I’m definitely comfy. The only thing I don’t love about reading in my bedroom, is that I’m usually tired and don’t always get a lot of reading done. I sometimes think I don’t allow myself to devote enough time to reading, wanting to be on for my kids during the day and having too many other distractions during nap times.
  • Occasionally I will read in a car if the baby were to fall asleep while out running errands – but that requires me to predict this scenario and bring a book or my kindle.
  • I’ve attempted to bring a book to a coffee shop or playground, but never feel my children are old enough to watch themselves while mommy has a nose in a book, so that never really happens. Too many dangers in this world, kids awfully young.

Where would I love to read?

  • In a comfortable outdoor chair on our imaginary back porch, or maybe in a hammock in said back yard? A tasty beverage would probably be required, maybe some singing birds for ambiance.
  • If said back yard had a nice shady tree, I might opt to sit and read there on a hot day while the kids play. Perhaps a back yard picnic would be called for?
  • In Europe, on a cruise, or lying on a tropical beach – i.e. if we took an extravagant vacation, I’d probably be the dork who wanted to read anytime there was downtime. Although if kids are present, we know downtime wouldn’t really be a reality anytime soon. But in about 5-10 years – somebody please hand me a book. A stack of books. And a tasty beverage. And then go away.

Where do you LOVE to read?

FIR ’10: Reading Question #5 : How much of the book do you read?

Fall Into Reading 2010 @ Callapidder DaysAs part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge, Katrina @ Callapidder Days has decided to post a weekly question related to the challenge.

She writes, “I thought it would be a great way to keep Fall Into Reading participants connected throughout the course of the challenge.”

Here’s the question for this week:

When you read a book, do you read EVERYTHING? In other words, do you read the dedication, the acknowledgement, the foreword, the afterword, the prologue, the epilogue, the appendices, etc.? Or do you just read the “meat” of the book? Or is your approach somewhere in between?

I think how much of the “extra stuff” I read really shows how much I like the book I’m reading. A book I’m in love with, I’ll want to read it all – from the index to the “about the author” page in the back. I think you can also usually tell a lot about a book from those little details and how many of them there are. I really appreciate the efforts an author might put into those details and get a kick out of the little extras added. But if a book is just “alright” – I might not even glance at any of those extras. If the book is just awful, I might even ::gasp:: skim the book and not bother finishing at all, nevermind reading the index or dedication pages.

How about you?