My Grandfather’s Son

My Grandfather's SonMy Grandfather’s Son by Clarence Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Just … wow. What an inspirational story. Clarence Thomas’s life is truly an amazing testimony to family and faith. He doesn’t hold anything back. He’s clear about his own failings, his bad decisions, and his fight against anger and radicalism in his school years. Thomas talks about deep south racism when it was *real.* When rope lynchings still happened. (As opposed to the character lynching he was subjected to later on.) He talks about rebelling against the grandfather who raised him and about learning to appreciate him. He talks about rebelling against God and finding Him again. He talks about the people who supported him and those who did their best to stand in his way. (I was surprised on both accounts.) This book was released in 2007, so probably written in 2005, but it’s amazing how many of the people mentioned are still entrenched in the power circles of D.C. If you like stories of those who have overcome, stories about character vs culture, and/or stories of those who have made it in the murky waters of politics, you’ll love this book.

Tidewater Bride

Tidewater BrideTidewater Bride by Laura Frantz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Laura Frantz. I’ve read all of her books and there isn’t a clunker in the bunch. However, this one is easily in the top four. I think she hit her stride here in the Tidewater. Wonderful characters, beautiful setting, authentic history, and a gripping story of struggle in a new land. I loved the authentic feel of the period, the little details that set the reader down into the story, and the realistic struggles that the characters faced in this time period. The tension isn’t contrived, the story not forced, it flows from the combination of good things Frantz peppers throughout the book. Well done!

Veiled in Smoke

Veiled in Smoke (The Windy City Saga, #1)Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I bought this book *months* ago, but I’m so behind on my reading. I don’t know if it’s Covid or what, but I have read fewer books this year than any year I can remember. Here’s hoping 2021 reverses that trend!

A good start to a new series by a favorite author! It’s a look inside the tragedy of the Great Chicago Fire and how it impacted the lives of two sisters and their Civil War veteran father. Loved the imagery, which took me to Chicago in 1871 and steeped me in that atmosphere. The characters were charming and diverse, each with their own backstory and quirks. The story is one of learning to lean on God rather than ourselves. There is no “perfect” ending – as there generally isn’t in life – but there is a very satisfying one. Well worth reading.

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

The Thief of Blackfriars LaneThe Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My favorite thing about this book is the characters. Kit is spunky and independent, as non-conformist as they come. Jackson is straight-laced and loyal, with a heart for justice. They come together with all the sparks you’d imagine. Their banter is witty and fun. A nice romp to read when you need a story to make you smile. This releases in January 2021 – you can preorder now!

Lessons on Love

Lessons on Love: 4 Schoolteachers Find More Than They Bargained for in Their ContractsLessons on Love: 4 Schoolteachers Find More Than They Bargained for in Their Contracts by Susanne Dietze
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Four novellas with school teachers for the heroines, but all four are very different stories. I enjoyed all of them!

Blackout

Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat PlantationBlackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation by Candace Owens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’d seen Candace Owens on TV a number of times, and she struck me as smart, honest, and tough. This book proves she’s all of that and more. What hit me as I read through the book is that she can say what many of us know – and can’t say because we’re white. She spreads out the facts and figures, such as blacks make up 13% of the population yet commit 40% of violent crimes, and challenges the politically correct narrative that paints blacks as perpetual victims. Candace challenges blacks – and whites – to look at black America in a different way. She challenges them to turn away from victimhood and toward “victorhood.” The book doesn’t bash or chastise black America, it encourages and challenges it to think about how they move forward in a positive manner. Does it bash the Democrats? Oh, yeah. But she does so with well laid out facts and figures and historical data that, frankly, makes perfect sense. Well worth reading no matter what your background or political leanings.

The Four Swans

The Four Swans (Poldark, #6)The Four Swans by Winston Graham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think Winston Graham’s writing just gets better and better in these books. This one had more setting than some of the other books did. I really enjoyed that aspect of it. The characters were alive and intriguing. I could “see” the TV characters while reading the words. Fully enjoyed it!

My reviews in this series:
Book 1) Poldark
Book 2) Demelza
Book 3) Jeremy Poldark
Book 4) Warleggan
Book 5) The Black Moon

Cables and Ladders Baby Blanket

I needed a baby blanket for a gift, and I found this cute – machine washable – yarn at Walmart. I didn’t have a pattern handy, so I came up with this one.

Materials Needed:
2 skeins Premier Puzzle yarn (7oz—328 yds)
Size 9 circular needle
sl2p = slip 2 sts as if to purl with the working yarn in front
cable4 = slide 2 sts onto cable needle at back of work, k next 2 sts, k 2 sts off cable needle

Cast on 3 sts. Work 3 stitch I-cord for 128 rows. Pick up 128 sts along I-cord and 1 more st at the cast on edge for 132 sts (including the original 3).

Row 1) sl2p, knit to last 2 sts, sl2p
Row 2) knit across
Row 3) repeat row 1

Begin Cable and Ladders pattern:
Row 1) k2, p1, [p1, k4, p1, k9], repeat between [ ] a total of 8 times, p1, k4, p2, k2
Row 2) sl2p, k1, [k1, p4, k1, p15], repeat between [ ] a total of 8 times, k1, p4, k2, sl2p
Row 3) repeat row 1
Row 4) repeat row 2
Row 5) repeat row 1
Row 6) sl2p, k2, [p4, k11], repeat between [ ] a total of 8 times, p4, k2, sl2p
Row 7) k2, p1, [p1, cable4, p1, k9], repeat between [ ] a total of 8 times, p1, cable4, p2, k2
Row 8) repeat row 6

Knit to desired length (model is 22 pattern repeats), ending with row 4.
Work 3 rows garter stitch. Bind off with 3-stitch I-cord. Secure ends. Finished size 30” x 30”.

S = slip one purlwise (yarn in front) * = knit 0 = purl large x = cable4

Dorothy and Jack

Dorothy and Jack: The Transforming Friendship of Dorothy L. Sayers and C. S. LewisDorothy and Jack: The Transforming Friendship of Dorothy L. Sayers and C. S. Lewis by Gina Dalfonzo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you enjoy either or both of these authors, this is a book worth reading. Their friendship was unique, deep, and occasionally contentious when their opinions on a subject clashed. But as with all true friendships, the clashes only strengthened it. I can’t say the book was riveting, there were places I skimmed through, but being a fan of C.S. Lewis, I found it interesting enough on the whole.

400 Knitting Stitches

400 Knitting Stitches: A Complete Dictionary Of Essential Stitch Patterns400 Knitting Stitches: A Complete Dictionary Of Essential Stitch Patterns by Potter Craft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I felt like I *needed* another knitting stitch pattern book. I picked this one because it includes both written and charted instructions and anymore I’m all about the charts. The photography in the book is excellent. All the samples are knitted in a neutral ivory that allows the reader to see the pattern well in the photos. There is a chart with each pattern, but they are quite small. Really small, actually. Older eyes aren’t happy with that, but in every other way, this book is top-notch.