Posts

Showing posts from 2015

TBR Day. A Christmas Fling / Beth Barany. 2013

Image
Like many of my fellow TBR bloggers, I have a large collection of holiday romances. I searched my Kindle for books with the word "Christmas" in the title and came up with at least a dozen titles. I remember this one by Beth Barany, an author I've not read before. I was intrigued by the cute premise of one of Santa's elves falling in love with a human. Plus it was only $0.99. I'm a sucker for those.

Dahlia, a Santa’s Elf, has 21 days left before Christmas to create the best toy in the world without using magic or revealing her true identity. Stuck on how to complete the prototype, and working as a temp in San Francisco’s financial district with no time for love, will her innocent Christmas fling get her unstuck, or will she turn her back on her beloved career for her heart? Liam, an up-and-coming financial analyst, swore off women after getting dumped by the love of his life. He just found out his ex is going to the company Christmas party with his rival Michael He…

TBR Day. Deadly Descent / Kaylea Cross. 2011

Image
So in my previous post I reported that I'd be having a hysterectomy because I had an early form of uterine cancer. I'm now home recovering, doing very well, and grateful for a pathology report that said the cancer was contained and further treatment isn't necessary. Just regular screenings.
I didn't think I'd get a TBR post done because I wasn't paying close attention to the calendar and thought it'd be too soon after surgery. But I got it done! It's short, but it's done. Yay me.

It's paranormal/romantic suspense month in Ye Olde TBR Challenge and I chose this military suspense novel that's been languishing on my Kindle for way too long. This is Book 1 in Kaylea Cross's Bagram Special Ops series. The series involves American military personnel stationed at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.
Deadly Descent is the story of Devon Crawford, an officer and Black Hawk pilot, who is fighting her attraction to Cam Munro an enlisted Pararescueman. C…

A personal update

I've been, for the most part, a pretty deep lurker during my years on the Internet. Lately, I've taken lurking to new depths. Life has taken some difficult turns, one of which I want to share now.

Last spring I experienced some post-menopausal bleeding and saw my doctor in early June about it. I'd been taking hormone replacements and I'm overweight. Bleeding is not uncommon because of the way fat cells store estrogen. I stopped the hormones and the bleeding stopped. But my doctor never saw a fat woman who could go home and forget about it. She said we still need to check it out.

The pelvic ultrasound was negative. The biopsy (which didn't happen until August, for Reasons) was not. On August 17 I learned I have uterine cancer.

People, I have the best doctor. I took her flowers.

So Thursday I'm having a full hysterectomy. The cancer cells taken in the biopsy were "level 1," which is a good thing. Still, you never take anything for granted. They'll d…

TBR Day. Home by Morning / Alexis Harrington. 2011

Image
It's historical month for the TBR Challenge and I want to know why we aren't talking about the novels of Alexis Harrington more often.
Several years ago I read her Harper's Bride, a book set during the Yukon Gold Rush. (The Yukon Gold Rush, people!) And when I finished that book I immediately bought Home by Morning. I can't believe I waited four years to read it.
Home by Morning is set during September and October of 1918 in Oregon, where horses are still more common than automobiles, the telephone only works during the day when the operator is on duty, and the small town of Powell Springs is more rural than not. Doctor Jessica Layton is passing through her home town on her way from New York to a new job in Seattle. Her sister Amy, Jessica's only remaining family, still lives there and Jessica wants to spend a few days with Amy before moving on. The same day that Jessica arrives, the great flu pandemic of 1918 also arrives in Powell Springs. Powell Springs is tempor…

August Recap

I've been largely absent from social media of late. You'd think that would mean I got more reading done, but, in fact, I've been preoccupied by other issues the last couple of months. It's not bad stuff either--just job changes and family changes. My parents recently sold their house and moved into a retirement community, for example. There was also a lovely trip to Brooklyn for a family wedding.

All that aside, I did manage to carve out some time to enjoy several good books. Here are a few worth mentioning.

Ghost Killer by Robin D. Owens is the third book in her trilogy about a woman who reluctantly discovers that she is tasked with the job of helping ghosts move on to the next life. I wrote about the first book, Ghost Seer, last year. The three books take place over a short time span, just under a month. Owens draws on the history of Colorado during the latter half of the 19th century because the ghosts who have to move on are from that time period. The various locati…

Another Little One

Image
No TBR post this month. I've not been reading as much as usual lately. A number of things have just sucked up my free time. Including this little quilt I made in just under a week back in July. I needed a gift for a co-worker who had quit her job to move to a new city. She went above and beyond last year helping me with a project and I really wanted to do something for her. So I pulled some fabrics in our university's school colors (purple and white) and made this:
Sorry about the lighting. The whites turned out yellow in the quilt and background. I wish I'd gotten better pictures but these will have to do. It's not very big--about 21" x 16". A look at the quilting:
I added a hanging sleeve to the back and it was all done.
My 8th quilt of the year! 

Recent Reads

Series, series. Everything is part of a series. I'm pretty sure I've said this before, as has every other blogger, probably.

Several months ago I discovered that my local library has the entire Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh available in audio. I've been listening to them at a rate of about 2 per month and I just finished Blaze of Memory, the 7th book in the series. First, I'm extremely glad I decided to do this re-read. It's been almost nine years since the 1st book, Slave to Sensation, was published and over the years I've forgotten as much as I've remembered. Some books have been more compelling, and thus more memorable than others. Some, like Blaze of Memory have not been so memorable. Case in point, with BoM-- as I listened I knew I'd read it before, but honestly couldn't remember any of it until near the end. And this is kind of important because Singh has carefully built the Psy-Changeling world and each book is full of clues as to wha…

Solar Eclipse Baby Quilt

Image
It's been a very productive year in my Quilt Cave. This is the 7th quilt I finished so far in 2015. I should point out that I didn't actually start all of those quilts this year. The one I'm about to show you I started last fall for the baby daughter of a friend. Because my friend N. is a very patient woman, I ended up finishing several projects before finally finishing this one.

When N. announced her pregnancy I was often found salivating over Elizabeth Hartman's modern quilts. So I picked the pattern called Solar Eclipse and chose these bright colors that I hoped would complement the peach and grey of the baby's room.
Don't those bolts look pretty stacked up? I texted the picture to N. who gave the thumbs up and I got to work. Here's the end result.
I quilted simple straight lines horizontally, vertically, and then diagonally. Once again using my favorite Aurifil 40 wt. white thread.  Those blocks are 16", so the quilt is rather large (for a baby qui…

TBR Day. Fool Me Twice / Meredith Duran. 2014

Image
Meredith Duran'sFool Me Twice is up for an RWA RITA award next weekend in the "Historical Romance: Long" category. I cannot tell you if it deserves to win as I've not read any of the other nominees in this category, but I will say that I liked it well enough that I would be perfectly happy to see it win.

The blurb:
A lady with a secret...
All Olivia wants is the chance to make a home for herself. When she realizes that the infamous Duke of Marwick might hold the key to her freedom, she boldly disguises herself as the newest and bravest in a long line of the temperamental duke’s housekeepers. Little does she know that the wickedly handsome Alastair de Grey has very different plans for her. . . .
A man with a passion . . . for vengeance
Alastair de Grey has suffered a betrayal so deep that he will use whatever means necessary to destroy his enemies -- even his brazen and beautiful housekeeper. But his vengeful plan fails to account for his single weakness: an irresistible …

Paint Chip Challenge 2015

Image
Five years ago I did a paint chip challenge with my sister and the QBFFs. It was so much fun I decided to do it again. As president of my quilt guild this past year I got to issue a quilting challenge to members so I went to Home Depot, picked up a bunch of paint chips and passed them out. (If you're interested, I wrote about it back in October so you can see the rules I passed out with the paint chips.) This is the paint chip that I got: And here is what I made: This quilt is from a pattern called Geometric Gradation that I purchased from Geta Grama, a quilter from Romania. She does the most amazing work. I have two of her other patterns I hope to get to one day.

My quilt is smaller than the original pattern because I only collected 8 blue fabrics in the right shades of blue (that pattern calls for 11 rows). This is a great quilt for snuggling on the couch, although right now it looks pretty awesome hanging on the wall.
I quilted it with white 40-wt. Aurifil thread in an all-ove…

A Little Something

Image
I've actually finished a few things recently. Two of them are lap-sized and all I need to do is get some photos taken so I can post them here soon. I also whipped out this little wall hanging that I gave to my husband yesterday for Father's Day.
This is called Moonlight Moose and it's from a kit by On the Trail Creations that I bought through Keepsake Quilting (they have the BEST catalog). It's pretty small, about 11"x 16". It only took me 4 days to finish, but I worked on it for several long stretches during those 4 days. There's a lot of stitching and I had to keep changing thread colors and presser feet. It was well worth the effort, though.
So here's the finished project: And next, here is an interesting view of the background, raw edges and all, before the applique pieces were added. This is a close-up of the stitching. I used some of my machine's decorative stitches, which is something I rarely get a chance to do.
The raw-edge applique piec…

TBR Day. It Started at Waterloo / Lynne Connolly. 2015

Image
I love history. Since tomorrow marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, it seemed fitting to mark the occasion by reading this book. Now, I have to admit, it was only in my TBR e-pile about 12 hours before I began reading it, because it was just published yesterday. But I do have a couple other books by Lynne Connolly waiting to be read, so this does meet this month's theme of "More than One [author]."

With barely more than a day to read the book and write this review, it's a good thing it was relatively short.

This book is aptly named. It opens during the infamous ball given by the Duchess of Richmond the evening of June 15. Hostilities would begin the next day, culminating in the final battle at Waterloo on the 18th. Amelia Hartwell is the daughter of a British officer. She's minor gentry; she and her family have been following her father ("following the drum") for several years. She knows Dr. Will Kennaway, an army surgeon, as she'…

TBR Day. I Hear Adventure Calling / Emilie Loring. 1948

Image
When it comes to "old school," I imagine it doesn't get too much better than this. If Mary Balogh was my gateway BACK to romance 10 years ago, Emilie Loring was my introduction to it (along with Grace Livingston Hill) over 40 years ago when I was 13 or 14. This Wikipedia entry about Loring is well worth reading. I had a rather large collection of Loring's books at one point, but I gave them away during a move. After a Twitter convo with @emilyjanehubb, Emily Jane kindly sent me a half dozen of her Loring duplicates. I was so thrilled because I immediately recognized several of the books she sent me. This one, though, I did not remember, so it became the perfect choice for this month's TBR Challenge.

The back cover blurb: Fran had been warned about Myles Jaffray. According to the gossip, nothing could stop Myles from breaking a woman's heart--not even a wedding ring. The more Myles made himself a part of her summer evenings, the more determined Fran became to…

Something Whimsical

Image
Last summer a couple of my friends and I were each asked to make a small wall hanging (24" x 24") using pieces of two specific fabrics. We were given fat eighths (9" x 11") of a bright orange batik and a dark purple batik. And we were challenged to use the word "whimsey" as a theme. Our challenger was the owner of SewBatik, a fabric company that sells direct to consumers at quilt shows and online. Our quilts were due April 15, and I'm finally getting around to showing them off here.
QBFF T. calls her quilt "Sunshine and Showers." I love the beading to show the rain, and the lace trim to represent flowers. It's the perfect May quilt. She did a great job quilting this.
QBFF A. simply called hers "Whimsey Challenge." It's a beautiful, bold, graphic quilt. Look at all of that beading! The quilting cleverly follows the background's horizontal lines.
Finally, here's mine. When I saw the fabric, all I could think of was &…

April Reads

Image
I'm going to experiment with a more rambling sort of post about my reading. Perhaps if I'm a little less formal, I'll be inclined to do this more often. I hope this is interesting, and even mildly entertaining. So here goes:

For some time now I've wanted to read Susan Wiggs'Lakeshore Chronicles and when I noticed that my library has them in ebook form, I started checking them out. I read the first one, Summer at Willow Lake, back in February and then the next two, The Winter Lodge and Dockside, in April. I have really enjoyed these books, especially the fact that some of main characters are older (i.e. 40). In some ways this series is similar to other long, small-town series such as Robyn Carr's Virgin River series. Yet Lakeshore has more depth to it, which is probably an indicator of Wiggs' strength as a writer. The characters are very inter-connected and I'm not sure how easy it would be to read just one book as a stand-alone. At any rate, I'm eag…

The One in My Heart / Sherry Thomas. 2015

Image
When I found out a couple of weeks ago that Sherry Thomas had a new book out, I bought it right away, even though it's not a historical and it's written in 1st person POV. I am fine with the former, a lot more cautious about the latter. But Thomas is pretty much an auto-buy author for me. Anyhow, after I bought it I found out that the hero, Bennett, is the great-great-grandson of Gigi and Camden from one of my all-time favorite books, Private Arrangements. I knew I wouldn't be able to read this right away, but I was looking for something to listen to. So I downloaded PA and (since it takes 7-10 days to listen to a book) ended up reading the two simultaneously as I finished up PA
That wound up being pretty weird. The books are very, very different. But there are a couple of references to Cam & Gigi in TOIMH that me and my crappy memory would undoubtedly have overlooked otherwise. I liked this book. I didn't love it, but I did like it and was pretty absorbed in it…

TBR Day. Craving Temptation / Deborah Fletcher Mello. 2014

Image
I purchased this book last fall in part because I'm trying to make an effort to read more diversely. (The Twitter conversation surrounding #WeNeedDiverseBooks has been eye-opening.) This multi-cultural romance features a heroine whose father is a conservative Muslim and an African-American hero. It is the 2nd book in Mello's 2-part Just Desserts series. I have not read the first book and while the characters from it are a significant part of this story, I didn't feel I was missing anything important. The blurb:
After a rocky year, life is once again sweet for brothers Troy and Quentin Elliot, and Quentin's new wife, Harper. Their bakery, Just Desserts, is thriving, with Quentin as pastry chef, and attorney Troy handling the books. In fact, Troy is ready to pursue his next big goal: to run for Mayor of Memphis, Tennessee. The competition is tough, but there's one challenge Troy doesn't anticipate--his opponent's distractingly beautiful campaign manager and d…

Some Book Talk and more

Image
Well, hasn't the romance online community been messed up this week? I'm glad I've managed to stay away from the big blogs and virtually hang with folks who tell it like it is and mostly just want to read some good books. So in that spirit, how about a little book talk and a couple of pretty pictures?

First up, I've totally failed at posting my last two TBR Challenge reads. I did read the books. In February my recommended read was Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex. This review of the book at DukeDukeGoose (damn, is that not the best blog name ever?) is what made me decide to read it for the February challenge. I have to admit I was skeptical because it's a Regency "chick in pants" book and I generally find them implausible. Not this time. Essex made it perfectly reasonable that heroine Sally Kent could pass as a young boy who knew her way around a ship. People often see what they want to see. And when the hero figures out the truth pretty quickly, well, …

Something Rather Modern

Image
The quilt on the cover of the fall 2013 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited was the source of my latest finish. The quilt's designer is Jen Eskridge and she created an interesting pattern that was fun and rather different than anything I've made to date. I gathered up a collection of fabrics that all fell into the same group of colors: brown, gray, black, white, and off white. I made a bunch of circles. Some circles were sewn inside bigger circles, others were scattered to overlap. While I followed the layout above in general, mine comes out looking slightly different. There is less space between the circles, and I think I wound up with more circles than in the original. Still, this was a great, easy-to-follow pattern.
I finished this top almost a year ago and was immediately intimidated by all of the white space I needed to quilt. I wanted to do something creative in the background, but instead I settled on quilting a variety of motifs in the circles themselves and doing a plai…