Monday, June 29, 2009

Laid back weekend

I think with the threat of a tornado on Friday kind of set the tone for the whole weekend. I really did not get much accomplished. Except sleep. But I did watch a new movie. Yes, Man with Jim Carrey. I like Jim Carrey and I really liked this movie. Probably because it didn't have the slapstick stuff as much as he usually has in his movies. I suppose he is slowing done. But it was a cute movie. The premise of a man who is basically letting life slip by him and is in a hole. He says no to everyone about everything, thinks up excuses not to do stuff. Along comes a new idea: Open yourself up for life's unexpected pleasures by saying yes to everything. Without thinking about it. Well, that gets him into some trouble and it actually is a thought provoking premise. Ultimately in the end it works out, of course and it is a hoot.
And I reread a quilting mystery book, Lover's Knot by Clare O'Donohue, because I actually couldn't remember reading it. Sad, but true. I think I was halfway before I was absolutely positive I had read it before but I read it anyway. Nice light read mystery and start of a series.
Lastly it is with sorrow that I mourn the passing of many icons that I enjoyed - Farrah Fawcett, Ed Mcmahon and Michael Jackson. I really loved MJ's music and wish he had had a better life and dealt with stardom better. It is sad. RIP.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quilting fiction

Another confession. I seemed to have become obsessed with quilting fiction and the rich history that goes along with the quilts and makers. The ones that I have read and kept up with are : Elm Creek Quilts series by Jennifer Chiaverini, Harriet Truman/ Loose Threads Mysteries by Arlene Sachitano, Quilting mysteries by Terri Thayer, Someday Quilts Mysteries by Clare O'Donohue and purchased used: Quilting Romance Series set, produced by Jove Publishing. Now I don't know how to quilt at the moment. But I want to. I am already collecting fabrics to produce a multitude of quilts. If I learn how. Of course, that will be the first step. But I wanted to mention a new set of books that I just started reading by Emilie Richards called Shenandoah Album. The first book is Wedding Ring, which is a type of quilt of intertwining rings. TBA on the rest of this blog.
Sorry, I started writing this in the middle of the book and the book ended up being a little intensive. Anyway, here is my review: This is about 3 generations of women in the Henry family. All had issues with their marriage and all needed to resolve them. Grandma married her honey, Fate, the day before he shipped off to WWII and had one night of sex. He died in the war and she was preggy. Never really got over it and sheltered herself from everyone including her daughter. The daughter now has issues with expressing feelings and married her husband because she got knocked up. It was a marriage of poor girl, rich boy. They had basically a show marriage. And then then daughter, who has the best marriage out of the bunch and has a daughter, loses her to a drunk driver. Their marriage ended up each handling the loss differently. So ultimately in the end, all the women are changed, as a result I would say, of the quilts the grandmothers has made over the years. Many, many quilts that sound absolutely stunning. Good book but long.

Delicious cozy but tired

Fatally Flaky is number 15 in the cozy series involving Goldy Schulz, a caterer in Aspen meadow, Colorado. I have read all the books in this series and seem to becoming disappointed in the plotlines. It just seems like reading the same story over and over. With slight deviations. This book centers around kind of a Bridezilla who is really over the top. This mystery involves the death of, first, her godfather's best friend and then the godfather himself. First issue is the godfather is talked alot about by Goldy and how much she cared about him but he really is written in as not a particularly wonderful guy otherwise. Second, there just is alot of arguing, drinking and throwing up for my taste. Some things were just a little too far reached, like her withholding evidence and lying to other characters and to top it off, the use of a deputy as her own personal bodyguard. And the ending was a disappointment. I will keep reading them for enjoyment but will continue to check them out of the library.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nora Roberts always delivers

That's what I think. I know that anytime I pick up a Nora Roberts book, I will like it. She has never proven me wrong. They are such great reads and satisfying romance. They always have wonderful plots, just the right amount of romance and sex and keep your attention waiting for what will happen next. Her newest quartet of books starts with "Vision in White". These four books will center around 4 women who have known each other since childhood and have gone into business together as a wedding planner service called Vows. In this first book, you are introduced to the team but centers around the wedding photographer, Mackensie. I actually really appreciated this one as I have felt the awe and inspiration that taking photographs does to you. Capturing the right photo at the right time at the right angle. Mackensie is brought together with an old school mate, who has had a crush on her for years, unknown by her. Carter is a bookish high school teacher, not well versed in the ways of love and romance. It is a with a sigh that I say this book was refreshing with the' find your way through the romancing process' that occurs. There were so many times I laughed and sat with my smile on my face, while reading this book. A bright spot in a usually boring day. I wholeheartedly recommend reading this book and am holding my breath for the next ones.

You Know You're a Bookaholic When...

(My personal favorite list)
You've figured out a way to read books in the shower without getting your book wet.
Looking at your 1000+ books in your TBR pile and thinking, "I have nothing to read!"
You pack all your books for a trip but forget your underwear.
You're packing for a romantic weekend away with significant other and you give more thought to which books to take than to which nightgown is your sexiest.
The library borrows books from you.
Before you buy a purse you make sure a paperback will fit inside.
You have a purse that fits one hardback, two paperbacks, and a reserve book (just in case something happens to the other three).
You become murderous when you discover a friend lost a book you loaned her.
You put Hershey's Chocolate syrup on your sandwich instead of mustard because you're engrossed in a book.
You put vanilla in the spaghetti sauce because you're reading at the stove.
Your significant other mutters about life in prison not being much of a deterrent to you since you'd be quite content sitting in your cell reading all day.
You look forward to jury duty because you'll have all that waiting time to read.
You call in sick so you can finish reading a book.
You can't pass a bookstore without stopping.
When visiting a strange town the first thing you do is check the yellow pages for the location of the bookstores.
When you move you have more boxes labeled "books" than anything else.
The first thing anyone says when they enter your house is "have you actually read all those books?"
You plan a day of shopping around all the bookstores you want to visit.
You have to constantly invest in new bookshelves.
You have a path because all the books are everywhere.
Your kids holler from the other room with something they consider a dire emergency, and you say, "Wait until I finish this page."
You have no idea what's on television anymore (except for Highlander) because the boob tube has become just another piece of furniture.
You tend to buy frozen, microwavable foods that practically cook themselves so that you don't lose any precious reading time for such an unimportant thing as feeding your family.
You valiantly try to teach your kids "independence," which means you want them to do more household chores (so you can have more reading time).
Your car is broke down, and it doesn't really matter because your favorite bookstore is right across the street.
You're sitting in the bathroom at 1:30 a.m., crying over the ending of your current read, when you know you have to be up at six to drive 150 miles and spend the day on your feet before driving back.
You read at red lights and get honked at because you were so engrossed that you didn't notice the light had turned green.
It's 2am and you think "just another chapter" and do the same thing at 3am when you know you have to get up in 4 hours and work.
You deliberately get to the bus/train station early, or even worse, just miss the bus/train so that you have more reading time.
You start to take several baths during the day because you read in the tub and your kids know this is "private time".
Your significant other runs into the room to make sure you're alright because he heard you wailing so hard over a sad read he thought you were dying.
You try reading and walking at the same time.
You don't really mind if you get stranded anywhere as long as you have enough books while you're there.
You start haunting your mail box when you're waiting for a new book to arrive and can't do anything useful until the mail has arrived.
You start fabricating excuses as to why you can't go out with your friends when you're in the middle of a great book.
You dash out and sit in the park and read during your lunch hour (or sneak in a few chapters at your desk).
You can always find some money to buy another book even if you can't afford to buy anything else. When you get desperate you raid the local library.
Your eyesight goes from 20-20 to legally blind because of reading in poor light.
You have to be paged at the local bookstore because your significant other has lost all track of you.
You get a friend or relative hooked on romance so you'll have another place to get books, but unfortunately it doesn't work quite right and they start borrowing from you.
You start up conversations with people in the bookstore who just look like they're dying to read a good romance but are having a hard time finding one.
When you keep a spare book or two in your desk at work, just in case you forget yours at home.
You panic when you only see ten new books out on the shelves at your local bookstore when you know it should be at least twenty.
Scouring the papers for any library booksales or garage sales with 'books' in the text.
As I'm sitting here, laughing, reading and realizing that you all are talking about me behind my back. . . tee hee heee heeee. . . .
And thinking. . . looking forward to payday so I can put buying books into my budget and pushing a bill back just a couple of days.

A Chick Lit book

Truth be told I like to read a lot of Chick Lit, too. What is Chick Lit you may ask? Well here is a great definition from a website I love,
Chick Lit is a genre comprised of books that are mainly written by women for women. The books range from having main characters in their early 20’s to their late 60’s. There is usually a personal, light, and humorous tone to the books. Sometimes they are written in first-person narrative; other time they are written from multiple viewpoints. The plots usually consist of women experiencing usual life issues, such as love, marriage, dating, relationships, friendships, roommates, corporate environments, weight issues, addiction, and much more.
Chick lit is told in a more confiding, personal tone. It’s like having a best friend tell you about her life. Or watching various characters go through things that you have gone through yourself, or witnessed others going through. Humor is a strong point in chick lit, too. Nearly every chick lit book I have read has had some type of humor in it. THAT is what really separates chick lit from regular women’s fiction.
Chick lit is also a truly fascinating character study. That is one major factor that keeps me so interested in the genre. A chick lit author takes a character and puts them through a series of mostly realistic ordeals – many that many women can relate to. The end result is usually very interesting, detailed, fun-to-read and satisfying.

So I just finished one called "The Bright Side of Disaster". Of course the title caught me right away but I liked the storyline too. Here is a brief synopsis: Boy meets girl in bar. Boy asks girl for friends phone number. Friend is not interested so boy goes after girl 1. They become involved and after 5 years decide to get married. Girl becomes pregnant and is due 1 month before wedding. Boy gets cold feet day before birth and leaves. Girl meets nice neighbor who is hunkier than boy. Boy shows back up after being gone 6 months and wants to renew engagement. Girl thankfully turns him down for hunkier neighbor. This was a nice quick read and I enjoyed it as I usually do as a nice airy diversion. Checked it out from the GFPL and found out about it as a recommendation from Amazon. You know, you bought this, we thought you would also like....

Excerpts from a recent article

10 Quirky Economic Indicators (which I only pulled a few that I thought were interesting)
by Candice Lee Jones (
These off beat barometers of the economy can give you much needed guidance for your portfolio or simply a good laugh.
Everyone is scrambling to get their fingers on the pulse of the economy. When will it turn around? Have we seen the worst? The answers may not be as elusive as you might think.
In the past, you might have relied on the old Hemline Theory to determine which way the market was heading: As hemlines rose, so did stock prices. Think model Twiggy in her super-short mod dresses of the '60s, followed by falling hemlines in the '70s as the economy weakened.
But these days you'll find all sorts of clues in everyday life to help determine where the economy really stands. Dry cleaners, for instance, may seem a bit more cluttered these days, and it's true -- many people are stalling an extra week before shelling out to pick up their clothes. Eyeliner sales are surging these days, and a cutback in eye makeup may signal a resurgent economy in which people are spending on costlier personal luxuries.
1. Packed Theaters
During the last seven recession years, box office sales have increased in five of them. The new Star Trek movie pulled in more than $200 million in the month of May, just one example of how well cinemas are faring these days. According to the National Association of Theatre Owners, the number of movie tickets sold in the first quarter of 2009 increased more than 9% from last year.
Better films? Hot new actors? People continue to fill theater seats, NATO says, because movies are one of the least expensive entertainment options out of the house. The average ticket price in 2008 was $7.18. So when the lines get shorter, go buy some stock.
2. Green Thumbs
The National Gardening Association finds that the number of households who will grow their own fruits, berries, vegetables and herbs this year is 19% higher than in 2008.
That makes 43 million gardeners in the United States this year. It's fun and relaxing, no doubt, but 54% of the respondents say the prospect of saving money on groceries motivates them to till the soil.
4. Romance Novels
The economy has broken your heart and stomped it to pieces and now you need to put it back together. At least that's what Harlequin, the giant romance novel publisher, says is happening. In 2008, Harlequin's sales were up 32% from the year before. In 2009, its sales are still rising.
The publisher credits this its uplifting stories that offer a haven, and to the low prices of the books relative to other entertainment. This theory has stood the test of time. Harlequin saw a similar sales increase during the recession of the early 90's. So if these stories start piling up unwanted on the discount table at the bookstore, alongside all those mis-timed guides to real estate riches, better news is on the way.
5. Droopy Eyes I
America is all tuckered out. A poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that nearly one-third of Americans lost sleep because they were worried about their finances. The 2009 Sleep in America Poll also found that 10% of those people tossed and turned specifically worrying about their jobs -- roughly the same percentage of Americans who are out of work.
6. Droopy Eyes II
Americans spent $10.3 billion in 2008 to endure 1.7 million cosmetic surgeries, which is 9% less than in 2007. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons cites the bad economy.
Without as much extra cash -- and facing depleted retirement funds and much less home equity -- fewer people can spend freely on plastic surgery. The number of liposuction procedures was down 19% in 2008 and tummy tucks down 18%. If you can get an appointment with a top surgeon without much of a wait, that's a sour sign for the economy. But, then again, maybe you can strike a deal.
7. Goopy Eyes
You've got that recession look in your eye. Total eye makeup sales at supermarkets and drugstores were up 8.5% in the one-year period that ended on March 22, compared to the previous year. In that time period, more than $260 million was spent on eye makeup -- in particular, eye liner was up 9% and mascara almost 13%.
The leading lipstick indicator -- the idea that lipstick sales rise in economic downturn as consumers settle for inexpensive luxuries -- is not holding up. Lipstick sales are down 11%. But eye make-up has replaced lipstick as the indicator, so the principle is the same.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New cozy mystery series for me

I have discovered a new series by J B Stanley. It's called the the Collectible Mystery series and involves Molly who is a writer for Collector's Weekly magazine. The first book, that I just finished called "Killer Collection", centered around the handmade pottery industry and I learned alot about it from this book. I thought the plotline was quite good and the red herrings done well. The victim is an obnoxious collector that gets snuffed at a kiln opening, what a pottery maker has once or twice a year to sell his pottery. What was easy to see, during a cutthroat snatch and buy, was the delivery of the fatal jab in the confusion. What you are not prepared for was who did it. Kudos on that. The are 2 more books, so far, which I will read in order of course even though I don't think it will make a difference.
There is a Jerry Bruckheimer marathon this weekend and I have watched, even though I own them, the first 2 Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure. I absolutely love these movies. Action and adventure with three hunky leading men, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Nicholas Cage.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Scenic mystery

Yes, I finished my book and here it is. I have, from when Nevada Barr started writing, been following and reading her series with National Park Ranger Anna Pigeon (Davidson). I have loved every one of her books mostly because of the fact they all deal with a murder in a National Park. That was what drew me first to the series - I have a love for America's National Parks. I have been to a lot of them, including many of the one's she has written about. But Nevada writes about the more obscure ones that you don't hear about everyday and about aspects of the National Park system that you wouldn't know. Her breathtaking discriptions of them are wonderful and her mystery writings skills have improved with each one. Her last one, Winter Study, was maybe a little more gruesome than her others but it was still great. This one takes place in Big Bend National Park in Texas. She is technically on vacation due to the stress of the circumstances of the last book and is on her belated honeymoon with her husband. This should have been a nice diversion for her but of course it develops into more. Another life threatening experience, as if she needs them. The main plot about the rafting down the Rio Grande is rivetting and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The subplot with the Mayor wanting to be senator is a disappointing but is needed. She is definitely a must read author but you should read them in order. My favorites were Liberty Falling (Ellis Island), Deep South (Natchez Trace) and Flashback (Dry Tortugas Nat Park).

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Okay, so you caught me. I am still in the middle of a book but I should be done tomorrow and let you know about it. I was tickled this morning to find my daughter at home. My 21 year old daughter apparently decided she missed us and dropped in for a visit, even though she lives in town. To surprise me when I came down this morning, she had cleaned off the kitchen table, which really needed it - believe me. I am wondering what else I will find she has cleaned by the time I get home from work. My 15 year old son is on a board collecting kick now - skateboards, flowboards, mountain boards and skiboards. Wants them all. He will hopefully find out soon that he can have them faster if he gets a job. My 12 yr old is addicted to the computer and online sights roleplaying. He is into Runescape, Club Penguin, Neopets and Our world, when he isn't riding his bike around to come up for air. I also have 3 cats plus a temp from the daughter: oldest is a calico named ADD (kitten was very mellow when we got it but proved within a day that it was the opposite), next one is a gray stripped tabby named Muffin 2 (after its predessessor, that was thrown out the door by my ex when I didn't collect her and her sisters in time by his standards) and a black cat named Boo Boo, big guy who loves me a little too much by always wanting to sit on my chest when I am laying down. My daughters cat is a smallish Siamese mix, the only one not fixed and declawed in the front, which is now preggy. That happened one night a while ago when she made a escape out the front door into the porch and then hid. The neighborhood tom cat, a scottishfold mix, came in our porch for a visit and knocked her up, which I heard with anguish all the way on the second floor and ran out to find her. On top of all of this, we have in my 12 yr olds room: a orangish betta fish, which the tank my son designed in a class at school and a crested gecko, which was a gift to him from my daughter for his 12th birthday. Interesting enough, I have bonded with that. Go figure. And in my 15 yr olds room is the lopped ear rabbit that my 12 yr old got from his sister last year for his birthday. It is in the 15 yr olds room so the 12 year olds room doesn't look like a zoo. And smell like it. I have nothing in my room because of all the books probably and there isn't room. It's lucky there is room for my bed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another one bites the dust

Literally. In the newest Sookie Stackhouse book, Dead and Gone, she kills a fae with an iron gardening trowel and they disintegrate into dust. Charlaine Harris has written another good one. I love these books. Very believable interaction with humans and supes. Vampires, weres, faeries, and shapeshifters. In this book, now that the Vamps came out of the closet and it worked so well, the werewolves have. Not the other types but just those. Which included Sookie's boss. There was a tragic death of a werepanther, a faery war and happily the binding of Sookie and Eric. Supposedly. Sookie ends up near death again and is brought back with Eric's blood, bonding them even more. What I wouldn't give to have a nordic hunk vamp to keep me up at night. This book had lots of story and action. Kept you on the edge of your chair through the whole way. More, more!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


First Confession: I fancy Cozy mysteries. There. Now you know. I can read them while I am reading more complicated books. I have a journal that I keep track of my authors and their books and usually try to read them in order as published because more recent books, if in a series, usually refer back to a previous solved mystery and gives away the solution.

Cozy mysteries, and I am quoting from, are defined:

1. Is usually a woman who is an amateur sleuth. Almost always, she has a college degree, whether she is using it or not. Her education and life’s experiences have provided her with certain skills that she will utilize in order to solve all the crimes that are “thrown her way.” The cozy mystery heroine is usually a very intuitive, bright woman. The occupations of the amateur sleuths are very diverse: caterer, bed and breakfast owner, quilter, cat fancier/owner, nun, gardener, librarian, book store owner, herbalist, florist, dog trainer, homemaker, teacher, needlepoint store owner, etc. These are just a few examples of what the amateur sleuth does…. When she’s not solving crimes, that is!

2. Usually takes place in a small town or village. The small size of the setting makes it believable that all the suspects know each other. The amateur sleuth is usually a very likeable person who is able to get the community members to talk freely (i.e. gossip) about each other. There is usually at least one very knowledgeable and nosy (and of course, very reliable!) character in the book who is able to fill in all of the blanks, thus enabling the amateur sleuth to solve the case.

3. Usually not a medical examiner, detective, or police officer, a lot of times her best friend, husband, or significant other is. This makes a very convenient way for her to find out things that she would otherwise not have access to…

4. Are considered “gentle” books… no graphic violence, no profanity, and no explicit sex. Most often, the crime takes place “off stage” and death is usually very quick. Prolonged torture is not a staple in cozy mysteries! The victim is usually a character who had terrible vices or who treated others very badly. Dare I say…. the victim “deserved to die?” And, there are usually connections between the victims (if indeed there are multiple victims… which usually, in a cozy mystery, there are!), even though the reader is not aware of the obvious connections until the amateur sleuth solves the crimes.

5. Tend to be fast-paced, with several twists and turns throughout each book. There are usually several red herrings to provide distracting clues to the reader. The amateur sleuth is able to sift through the clues, tossing the useless information out while analyzing the good clues. There is a lot of puzzle solving involved in a cozy mystery.

6. Puts an emphasis on plots and character development. They are a “fun read” that engages the mind.

A winner of a book

I just finished Language of Bees by Laurie King and it was fabulous. Her series of the meeting and finally then matrimony of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes have been truly amazing. I have loved everyone of them. This one has lots of intrigue, action and suspense as do most of them. Interesting enough this one had a main plotline of Mary and Sherlock finally bonding with his son Damian and helping him with a cult like problem involving his wife and child. The sub plot line involves one of Sherlocks bee hives that has swarmed while he was gone on his last adventure. The hive was empty when they got home and Mary is driven to find out why, while Sherlock runs off with Damien. Fascinating insight into bees and beekeeping. And yes, Mycroft is more involved in this one, too. The story moves along rather well and doesn't leave you skimming pages. If anything, these books by Laurie King has tempted me to read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock books, since I have only watched movies with Basil until now.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Well darn it all

So I am plugging away putting ALL my favorite authors in, alot, and after I am all done, they are all not there. So I can't even figure out where the blogsight decided it had had enough. Sooo, I will with every book I write about, will include the author's website at the end to make up for the poor showing on their part, if it isn't already there. Added bonus, a review I did for our library of a book read last week:

I have just completed the latest adventure of Ethan Gage, an Indiana Jones meets Daniel Boone type hero, and again am blown away. This is the third of a series of books by William Deitrich consisting of: Napoleon's Pyramid (CFL has), Rosetta key (GFPL has) and what I just finished, Dakota Cipher (CFL has). Ethan Gage is a very rugged likeable rouge who started his adventures as an apprentice of Benjamin Franklin and electricity. He accidentally gets enlisted into Napoleon's quest for the mysteries of Egypt, fighting on both sides of the engagement between the British and the French. Whomever he happens to be with at the time, opportunist. In the next book, our hero is still on the loose now hunting for the fabled Book of Thoth in Israel. While being hunted still by all sorts of factions, he becomes well traveled for the day and age. In the third book, he ends up back in France with Napoleon, as an emissary of America and Jefferson has just been elected into office. He is enlisted first by Napoleon to check out the Louisiana territory, which Spain has just given back to France, and then teams up in Washington DC with a large Norseman who wants to seek out the proof of Norway discovering America first. Small Spoiler - the Kensington Runestone in Alexandria, MN, is one of the ultimate prizes to be found and proves to be a interesting journey. These books are a very good read, nicely historically accurate and action packed to keep you reading till way past your bedtime.

Patty's afternote: She wrote the author to tell him how much she enjoyed the book,and he emailed her back within an hour, thanking her for that. What a neat idea to thank the author! Have any of you tried it?

And in the beginning

I am taking a page from one of my few closest friends and starting my own blog. Now I am a little intimidated about all of this but I know that this is going to be a sweet ride. I want to be able to talk about the books I read, the utterly bizaare things that happen in my life and even some movies or two. So where to start. Of course with a book. I just finished reading Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber, who is on my list of authors that I faithfully read. This is a book in technically a series but can do well alone. I will say that this one was good but... I was disappointed in the plot. The book centers around a concept thought up by the Yarn store owner. Knitting to quit. Her first group consists of only 3 members and what they are quitting are not really that interesting. A woman just broke up with her cheating fiance and wants to forget him, a man was diagnosed with high blood pressure and needed to destress and a long time customer is trying to quit smoking. But the main story is about the yarn store owner and her wanting to adopt a baby. I guess my biggest peeve is the last chapter and its like everybody and their brother reveals their secret. Secret overload. Again I liked and read the book. Got it from the library and probably wouldn't buy it.