Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Book List

Missed adding this one to my May list somehow, but I reread Rebecca (if that is what one can say when one listens to an audio version of a book previously read) by Daphne du Maurier. This is one of my favorite books.  I've lost count of how many times I have read it.  I love how "the new Mrs. de Winter" is never actually named; for some reason, that adds so much to this book for me.  Du Maurier is one of my top ten favorite authors, and this is her best!

I also managed to leave out Grey Mask, which I read in mid May.  This is the first in the Miss Silver series by Patricia Wentworth.  It wasn't particularly memorable, but interesting enough that I will probably read more by Wentworth when I run low on vintage mystery authors.

Now, on to June:

Books Read:

  1. Down Among the Dead Men (1961) by Patricia Moyes
     I couldn't stop myself from running straight to the shelf for the next in this series, after I finished the first.  I don't know how I have read mysteries for nearly thirty years and yet was never introduced to her!  This one was as good the first: good plot, well developed characters and a satisfying solution.
  2. The Black Thumb (1942) by Constance and Gwyneth Little.  These sisters became my favorite mystery writing duo from the first page of the first one I read.  This second one solidified it.  The books are hilarious!  Best of all, the plot/mystery doesn't suffer from the humor.  It's a believable, solid and well-written mystery.  I was uncertain until the end, worried about my favorite characters, and giggling the whole way.  Loved it and will be reading more!
  3. 8 Faces at 3 (1939) by Craig Rice
    The first in the John J. Malone series which was extremely popular in the 1940's.  I was wishy washy about it at first, but did enjoy it.  The plot was tight, the mystery solid, and there were just enough surprises and unknown factors.  I was turned off by the amount of drinking done by the three main characters--why one of them didn't die of alcohol poisoning before the resolution is the main mystery--but once I started skimming over all the references to "rye", I was able to settle in and enjoy the story.
  4. Why Shoot a Butler? (1933) by Georgette Heyer
    I am a long time fan of Heyer's Regency novels, but this was my first time reading her mysteries.  I wasn't impressed with the plot, but I did enjoy the dialog (always a strong point for her).  I'll probably read more of her mysteries over time because I have such a fondness for Heyer and 1930's house party mysteries, and not because of this book's merit.
  5. Murder by Experts (1936) by Anthony Gilbert
    At times a bit muddled and/or stilted, it was still interesting.  Reads more like a first novel, though she had written several by then.  I'd still be willing to read another, though, because it was certainly clever.  Also, I by far prefer a mystery that starts some time before the actual crime and gives me time to know those involved, which this was; apparently many of her novels are like this.  (Gilbert is a psuedonym for Lucy Beatrice Malleson.)
  6. The Patient in Room 18 (1929) by Mignon Eberhart
    This is my first time reading any mysteries by Eberhart, and I enjoyed her writing style and the characters she developed.  The solution was a bit muddy in parts, though that could've been my fault as I made myself stay awake to finish.  
  7. The Norths Meet Murder (1940) by Frances and Richard Lockridge
    I liked the Norths and their interaction with each other, but I found the prose to be mindbogglingly dry and tedious.  This was the first of what became a popular series, so the Lockridges must have gotten better with practice.

Audio Books:

  1. Sleeping Murder (1976) by Agatha Christie
    Another delightful Miss Marple.  This one I either had read before or was clever enough to figure it out early on; didn't hamper my enjoyment, though.
  2. A Christmas Journey (2004) by Anne Perry
    A novella with a social "crime" to be sorted out, set in Victorian high society.  It was okay, but would have been better if it had been expanded into a full novel.
  3. Flush (2005) by Carl Hiaasen
    This is a Hiaasen juvenile fiction.  It's typical Hiaasen (taking place in the Florida Keys with the plot revolving around bad guys hurting the environment) but toned down for kids. I enjoyed it, maybe not as much as I do his adult fiction, but it was still good.
  4. Wish You Were Here (1990) by Rita Mae Brown
    The animal interactions were extremely well-written and fun; the mystery was okay, especially for a first, though it was apparent early on "who done it".   I found both the foul language and the "divorce issue" overdone and tiresome. The was one plot point in particular that was made much of  but not explained and she made a glaring error about firearms.  Finally, while it's her novel and she can rant on whatever she wants, I just didn't see how the anti-religion discussions advanced or enhanced the plot. Despite my complaints, I still probably would've read more in the series because I loved the pets. However, regardless of the fact I can find talking pets believable, I can't buy into multiple murders and high profile crimes conveniently taking place in a small town.  Come on y'all, even Nancy Drew had to have more scope than River Heights; you certainly can't expect an adult reader to think some twenty big mysteries could happen in tiny Crozet, Virginia!
  5. The Secret of Chimneys (1925) by Agatha Christie, read by Hugh Fraser
    This was an truly enjoyable, highly improbable, country house mystery that turned out to be an intrigue of international proportions.  I loved every minute of it, especially as it was read by Hugh Fraser.  He reads most of the Christie audio books (as well as played Captain Hastings to David Suchet's Poirot) and he is simply magnificent.  If you only listen to one audio book, make it one read by Fraser!
  6. Innocent Blood (1980) by P.D. James
    This is referred to as a mystery, but it's more of a thriller.  The plot and writing were strong, as is to be expected from Dame James, but somehow I found it didn't live up to her other novels.
  7. The Enchanted April (1922) by Elizabeth von Arnim, read by Eleanor Bron
    Reread of beloved classic; it's gentleness and story line reminds me of an Austen novel.  Love it so!  Eleanor Bron was excellent.  (If you are interested in the lovely book, please don't watch the movie!!)
  8. The Iron Hand of Mars (1992) by Lindsey Davis
    Loving ancient history, it's no wonder that I've loved this series.  This is a reread, as I'm catching up with the series; I'm fairly certain this fourth book was as far as I got.
  9. The Secret Adversary (1922) by Agatha Christie
    Another reread this month; this was the first Christie I read and began my love of her novels.  It's another highly improbable and yet thoroughly enjoyable read.  

Notable Failures:

  1. Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch
    I made it 23 minutes into this one and was so appalled at the historical inaccuracies in a so-called "historical" Victorian mystery that I gave an audible grunt of distaste and turned it off.  I can't believe how highly recommended it comes, nor the fact that it is the first of a growing series.  Frankly, I can't believe it got published at all.  Is it a parody and I just didn't get the joke?
  2. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
    I loved the first several chapters.  It's a bit hard to explain, but it follows Ursula's life and each time she reaches a point where she could die, she does, then her life starts again, skips up to the point where she dies and she makes a different choice and doesn't.  Though, sometimes she does, and has to try again.  (It took several tries to get through that influenza epic after the Great War.)  She doesn't actually know that is what she is doing though; the author just picks back up.  It was reminiscent of choose-your-own-adventure novels, or of playing a RPG and starting back at your last save.  Her early life was delightful and I was thoroughly enjoying it.  Then some bad decisions happened and she endured rape and spousal abuse and I was just hoping she'd finally die.  She did, but after that, I was soured on the whole experience.  I listened a few more hours, but her character was less likable after she took up with a married man and. . . well, I stopped after around ten hours, despite having only about four left to go.  It's rare for me to quit so far into a book, so that says a lot.
  3. Deep Dish by Mary Kay Anderson
    After listening to Savannah Blues, actually enjoying it and going so far as to admit it, I decided to give another one of her novels a try.  I listened to about half an hour of this before I quit.  Some really un-lively conversation and dull prose going on there, y'all.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

My Friday Fives

In an effort to reflect more positively on what I accomplish and to plan goals more reasonably, I'm going to start writing out My Friday Fives.

  1. Finished shelving all our books on our new bookshelves.
  2. Decorated my side of the bedroom shelves with Washi (like I did our hall shelves); will finish his side next week.
  3. Cleaned up the hallway (though doing so created some temporary mess in other places :p).
  4. Hung up a new shower curtain.
  5. Finished the first week of The Frosted Pumpkin's Summer Sampler.

I love the colors they chose, muted yet bright at the same time.  I'm glad I chose the beige Aida; it really brings the colors alive.

It's a super hard choice, but I think the kawaii guitar is my favorite from this week, mainly because I loved making his little strings.

  1. SIX thunderstorms in five hours on Thursday evening.  It was lovely!
  2. Won a fantastically cheap lot of vintage mysteries on ebay.
  3. Won another fantastically cheap lot of vintage books on ebay.
  4. Had my husband home on Monday; we celebrated our excellent dentist appointments with a Chick-fil-a milkshake. :)
  5. Helped St. John catch bugs in the living room.

  1. Use and review the gluten free sugar cookie mix I got from the Amazon Vine program.
  2. Return to taking my photos every day.
  3. Caulk around the tub. 
  4. Dust the cobwebs in the living room.
  5. Complete the second week of The Frosted Pumpkin's Summer Sampler.

Book Beginnings: The Mouse in the Mountains

Rose City Reader hosts "Book Beginnings on Friday":  You are invited to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

Thursday night, I started reading The Mouse in the Mountain by Norbert Davis. I was immediately interested in Doan and his Great Dane.  I'm only two chapters in, but the dialogue is wonderful thus far and the characters are intriguing.  This is my first time reading Davis, and if the book continues as it has started,  it won't be my last.
When Doan and Carstairs came down the wide stairway and walked across the pink-tiled floor that was the pride and joy of the Hotel Azteca, the guests in the lobby stopped whatever they were doing to pass the time away and stared open-mouthed. Doan was not such-a-much, but Carstairs usually had this effect on people, and he left a whispering, wondering wake behind him as he stalked across to the glassed side doors and waited with haughty dignity while Doan opened one of the doors. He ambled through it ahead of Doan into the incredibly bright sunlight on the terrace.

This lovely vintage cover borrowed from this review.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Are We There Yet?

The Lethargy of Summer is on me.

I have several half-completed projects (included my exciting Spring Cleaning undertaking) that I began with such certainty in the spring.  Now, with the heat making much of the house a sauna, even with the AC on, my enthusiasm is waning and lethargy is winning.

I stay up later and sleep later and move slower when I am actually up and at 'em.

I just want to read, and stay as still as possible so the heat won't notice me and will just rise over my head and keep going.

I don't want to heat up the kitchen to cook or wash dishes, and  I certainly don't want to get into a hot car.

My tattoos are in danger of fading from sun-exposure, but despite slathering myself with sunscreen my arms get too brown, my feet have white marks from my Chacos-- and yet my legs glow in the dark.

I can't even enjoy the evening cool because I am the tasty treat that all mosquitoes desire.  I itch, scratch, bleed, have massive allergic reactions, scar, repeat. . .

I need three showers a day to combat the sweat glow.

Ah yes.  Summer.  How do I hate thee?  Let me count the ways.

I share this girl child's attitude towards summer: Oh yay.  It's summer.  That means it's time to sit outside, practically nude, with crazy people and pretend to roast plastic hot dogs over a fake log.  Huzzah.  How soon before this madness ends and I can go back inside and read my book?

If it weren't for fresh veggies and fruits, I'd move to Greenland or Alaska.  No, by golly, I'd go to that research station in Antarctica and when my eight hours of watching instrument panels were over,  I'd go to my bunk and read or play a game or cross stitch, while drinking hot tea and snuggling under a blanket with about ten sweaters on.  You know, the way life should be.

But, tomatoes out of the garden are so good.  So are cucumbers and beans and peas.

Cantaloupes, watermelons and honeydews that are grown (as opposed to hatched or whatever it is that they do in greenhouses) are astonishing.

When I think of peaches and strawberries that taste like nature meant them to taste, my knees go weak.

For some reason, they just won't grow in the snow.

So, with every wave of heat, I'm trying to remind myself of the taste of tomatoes.

In the meantime, I expect to read a lot of books and do very little housework until I smell that first, crisp hint of autumn in the air.

Ah. . . Autumn. . . Are we there yet?

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Sea Change

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that are being  eagerly anticipated.

Just today, I read a review on Tor. com about a newly released book, Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler.  
Here is the publicity blurb:
The unhappy child of two powerful parents who despise each other, young Lilly turns to the ocean to find solace, which she finds in the form of the eloquent and intelligent sea monster Octavius, a kraken. In Octavius’s many arms, Lilly learns of friendship, loyalty, and family. When Octavius, forbidden by Lilly to harm humans, is captured by seafaring traders and sold to a circus, Lilly becomes his only hope for salvation. Desperate to find him, she strikes a bargain with a witch that carries a shocking price. 

Her journey to win Octavius’s freedom is difficult. The circus master wants a Coat of Illusions; the Coat tailor wants her undead husband back from a witch; the witch wants her skin back from two bandits; the bandits just want some company, but they might kill her first. Lilly's quest tests her resolve, tries her patience, and leaves her transformed in every way. 

A powerfully written debut from a young fantasy author, S.M. Wheeler's Sea Change is an exhilarating tale of adventure, resilience, and selflessness in the name of friendship.

The Tor article gives a much more in depth and personal review, ending with:
If you’re not a fan of slow-burn introductions and lots of description, you may find that Sea Change has a little difficulty holding your attention in the first few chapters, especially because, as I mentioned earlier, Wheeler’s prose does tend to get away from her a little at times. However I urge you to keep going; events become clearer and before you know it, you will be completely swept away. Like the magical coat Lilly is seeking, many of the threads don’t come together until the last few chapters, but I’m not ashamed to admit that when they did, I was in tears. Sea Change struck home with me on a very personal level, and I think a lot of readers will see a little bit of themselves and their own struggles toward adulthood and self-realization in Lilly’s adventures.
And maybe a little bit of magic, too.
My library doesn't have it yet, but I'm keeping my eyes open and am hopeful they will soon.   I think it is one I would really enjoy.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and The Bookish.  Each week a new top ten list is posted, and to participate all you have to do is fill in YOUR top ten for the list.
This week the topic is:
Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year
I've not read a lot of literary/notable books this year, as I've been on a vintage mystery kick, but these are the ones I have enjoyed the most.

Mine are not in any particular order, just written down as I've thought of them.
  1. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
    This IS the best book (excluding rereads) that I have read this year and I recommend it to everyone, regardless of their preferred genre.  
  2. The Black Thumb by Constance and Gwyneth Little
  3. The Black-Headed Pins by Constance and Gwyneth Little
    I am so in love with the humorous mysteries of these ladies!
  4. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
    I reread this beloved classic; it gets better every time.
  5. Dead Men Don't Ski by Patricia Moyes
  6. Down Among the Dead Men by Patricia Moyes
    My introduction to her mysteries; she is fantastic.
  7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
    Another reread, and another fantastic favorite.
  8. The Collector by John Fowles
    I can see why this has become a classic!
  9. Mrs. Dalloway by Virgina Woolf
    Yes, another reread.  I'd often rather reread an excellent favorite.
  10. Cleopatra: a Life by Stacy Schiff
    Fascinating biography.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Super Great Package Day

I love the daily deals at The Plaid Barn (and sadly, no, I'm not getting any endorsement for this).

I wouldn't go so far as to say that I am addicted to their great craft items and cute geegaws (only because my husband reads this blog and I don't want him to cut me off), but I will say that when I was finally lucky enough to snag one of their goodie boxes (they sell out FAST!!!!), I nearly cried with happiness.

My goodie box arrived today, after about five eternities of waiting.

So, naturally, I had to take photos and show all of my new goodies!

Here we have pillow boxes (I got four); fancy, velcro closing gift bags (four of the polka dot design, three of the plain); a package of blue/white chevron straws; small jute drawstring bags (four); medium kraft paper bags (two); and two daisy lids for mason jars to be used with a straw!

I got loaded with accessories, too: a lovely, sandy colored, polka dot scarf; gorgeous earrings that make me think "Morocco" and will become my new favorites; three fancy bobby pins; and two lace edged bobby pins that come with clear epoxy stickers so you can add your own design.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this!  It's an antique-y, handwriting font, rubber stamp set of all the upper case letters plus ! and ?.

Next up: yellow chevron ribbon, polka dot fabric tape, pink Washi tape and tiny scissors!  The tiny scissors are awesome and I plan to carry them in my purse.  Also a set of four each of blue, white and pink daisy cabochons, a set of blue, yellow and purple shabby-chic cloth flowers and  three varieties of fold over elastic.

Lastly, three sheets of vinyl (dark brown, rust and avacadoish), two unfinished wood circles, a lovely bunch of wooden spools and two unfinished wood candlesticks.

 How exciting is that?!?!

Other than my super great package, though, today was a waste.  I was tired from being up later than usual, I didn't get much done (still haven't washed the dishes, even) and am thinking of heading to bed early (i.e. now).  Trying not to be discouraged and to remember that not every day is going to be a great achievement day.

Thrift Store Coup and More

Our county has it's own Rescue Mission (in addition to the local chapter of the Salvation Army), and to support itself, the Rescue Mission has a thrift store.  I say "A" thrift store, but the community support is such that it has grown into eight locations, plus one in the neighboring county!  I can't imagine how many people they employee in the stores, the warehouses and as drivers (yes, they will come and PICK UP your donations for the thrift store), but they are certainly a blessing to this county.

As I have been in the (painfully slow) process of decluttering our home over the past two years, we have donated untold amounts of clothing, toys, housewares and the like.  It makes me feel good to know that my extra stuff might be of benefit to someone in someway.

I also like to browse there.  It's dangerous, and I've never let it become a habit, but Tuesday morning I needed a pick me up after going out for lab work (never a pleasant duty) in the pouring rain.

Boy am I glad I did!

Ta da!
I found four pieces of Corningware!  We have other pieces of Corningware like the wildflower dishes in the blue flower and "spice of life" patterns and they are the most used dishes in our home.  I've never owned any of the Vision cookware, and nearly squeed when I saw it on the shelf.  I remember seeing the ads as a kid and thinking how cool it was. . .and now I own two pieces!

 The larger one is the bottom part of a double boiler and the smaller one fits nicely enough in the big one that the two could be used as a double boiler, should I ever need one.

I used the large one as a mixing bowl last night and it was fantastic!


St. John enjoyed the last paper lantern so much we bought him some more to play with.  Tuesday night's play session was inside the laundry basket, which made it twice as much fun!


Spent literally all night cross-stitching.  Am just heading to bed now, but my frames are done just in time!  The first set of patterns for the Summer Sampler will be released tomorrow and now I am ready!

It's not the best lighting, so it's hard to appreciate the colors.  I chose a beige Aida, and the frames resemble lemon and orange sherbet.  The beige really brings out the frame colors.  I can't wait to see what the first set of patterns will be!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Four Month Challenge (Part 12)

I started this blog with the intention of using it to encourage myself in my homemaking and crafting.  Now, it seems this blog is in danger of becoming more of a book blog!  Not that it really matters, as it's my blog and nothing says "me" more than books!

That being said. . . I stumbled on yet another super fun looking reading challenge!  

This one is a four month challenge, going from May through August.  Even though I'm a month late joining, I have my reading list from last month, so hopefully some of them will fall into these categories.  I can't wait to see how many points I can earn! :)

There weren't any specific "rules" (always troublesome for a rule-follower), but here is the official page for joining and updating progress.  I'm joining in late, as usual, but hopefully that will not be a problem!

5 Point Challenges
  • Read the second book in a series
    Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie, the second in the Tommy and Tuppence mysteries. (July 2013/audio)
  • Read a book with water on the cover
    Down Among the Dead Men by Patricia Moyes 
    (June 2013)
  • Read a book with a colour in the title
    The Yellow Streak by Valentine Willaims 
    (May 2013)
  • Read  a book set in the 1900′s
    Mamur Zapt and the Return of the Carpet  by Michael Pearce, set in Cairo in 1908.  
    (July 2013/audio)
  • Read a book whose author name begins with M (First or last)
    Dead Men Don't Ski by Patricia Moyes 
    (May 2013)
10 Point Challenges
  • Read a book published during your birth year
    Transparent Things by Vladimir Nabokov, published 1972  (August 2013)
  • Read a book with a door, lock or key on the cover
    The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (July 2013/audio; thanks to the vintage cover pictured here)
  • Read a book with a flower/flowers on the cover
    Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton 
    (May 2013)
  • Read a book with something ‘hot’ in the title (sun, fire, heat, etc)
    Flame and Shadow by Sara Teasdale (July 2013; my discussion)
  • Read a book whose author name begins with J (first name only)
    Who Killed the Curate? by Joan Coggin 
    (May 2013)
15 Point Challenges
  • Read a book currently on a bestseller list
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman  is #11 on the NYT list on 11 July 2013. 
    (July 2013/audio)
  • Read a book that shows a woman from behindThe Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith (August 2013)
  • Read a book with a moon or stars on the cover  The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (July 2013; my discussion here)
  • Read a book with an adjective in the title
    The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin (May 2013)
  • Read a book whose author name begins with J (last name only)  Innocent Blood by P.D. James  (June 2013/audio)
20 Point Challenges
  • Read any book in one weekend (Friday to Sunday)
    Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer 
     (June 2013)
  • Read a book with a child on the cover.
    The Secret of the Mansion by Julie Campbell. 
    (July 2013)
  • Read a book with over 400 pages
    The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold; 464 pages.  (July 2013)
  • Read a book with an animal on the cover
    Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae Brown (June 2013/audio) 
  • Read a book whose author name begins with A (first or last)
    The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie 
     (June 2013/audio)
Current point total: 250 points)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Murder by Experts

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am currently reading Murder by Experts by Anthony Gilbert.  I opened it to page 64 in the large print edition, and my eyes rested on this:
I've seen similar gleams in the eyes of serpents, something peculiarly intense and malevolent.  I didn't know how long she had been there or how much she had heard, but I felt selfishly relieved to think that it was Parkinson and not I who had to deal with that crazy pair.
This is a new-to-me vintage mystery writer, and thus far--five chapters in--it's a good book.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Frogs and Dinos

Whew. . . after last night's fantastic thunderstorm, today was a scorcher.

I did the grocery shopping and went to Sam's.  I don't think I"ll renew our membership at the end of this month.  I'm going to compare the things I buy there regularly with the grocery store prices, and see if I'm really saving enough to make it worth $45 a year.  I just don't enjoy shopping there anymore.  I dread going and put it off as long as I can.

Didn't do much else than buy and put up groceries today.  I've washed about half the dishes, made spicy cornbread for my husband, washed a load of kitchen towels/cloth napkins and fed the cats.  Otherwise, I've moped around the house feeling hot, tired and unwell.

It may be a very early night for me.  Possibly even before midnight! (Though that is looking less and less likely)


My frames for the Frosted Pumpkin's Summer Sampler are coming along nicely.  The first week's patterns will come out on the 21st.  I expect I will have all the frames ready by then.  The frame colors look like sherbet, especially on the beige Aida I chose.   


Last night's rain washed a tree frog into our basement.  I know, because St. John herded it up the basement stairs, through the cat door and into the office.  He wanted so badly to get it into his mouth, but frogs seem to have a natural repellent, so he couldn't.  He would try, it would taste bad, he would back away, and it would make one great hop.  He would follow and the cycle would begin again.  It was hilarious!  Was a lovely frog, too.  I took him out in the rain, to St. John's sorrow.


My new favorite treat is eating frozen Yoplait Whips.  So tasty!  Since it's yogurt, it's good for me; since it's frozen, it tastes like ice cream.  Win-win!


When we went to the hobby store last week, I bought two mini dinos, about an inch each.  They have become my new favorite photo props.

Library Books Reading Challenge

Update: as of 30 August, I have passed the final level of "just insert I.V." with over 50 books read/listened to that I have borrowed from my local library.  Wonder how many I will have read by the end of the year?

I am a library addict, and have been most all my life.  I talk about InterLibrary Loans with the hushed voice reverence most people reserve for places of worship. I get giddy when I get the email that one of holds is waiting for me at the library.  I still come home, show my husband my treasures and say, "can you believe they let me borrow all these?!  And for FREE?!?!"

Heck, y'all, one of my earliest memories is of the library.  Granted I was hollering to go "pee-pee" at the time, but it was still in the library, which is the important part of the story.

Furthermore, as I have mentioned before, I am carrying on a relationship with two libraries simultaneously.

And neither branch knows about the other!

Anyway. . . Given my propensity to haunt the library, this really isn't so much of a challenge as it is a way to show off my rad, leet library skillz.   I present to you:


Ahem.  Anyway.

Gina says:
Our love of reading can be expensive! Not only are we purchasing books but we also need space to keep them. I've started using the library (again) but couldn't find a challenge to help me. Here it is. There are a number of levels, for those who don't have a library card yet to those that live there. Enjoy!
 Here are the requirements:
  • choose a level - you may move up as needed, just not down. 
  • check books out of the library
  • books may overlap with other challenges
  • any format allowed (print, ebook, audio)
  • reviews are not necessary but a list of books read is
  • a blog is not necessary, just comment that you want to join in
And the levels:
  •  board book - 3
  • picture book - 6
  • early reader - 9
  • chapter book - 12
  • middle grades - 18
  • Young adult - 24
  • adult - 36
  • just insert IV - 50 
I'm going to start with the Adult Level (36), and shoot for the "Just Insert IV" Level (50).  I'm just afraid to go ahead and sign up for the latter, for fear that doing so will set in motion some great cosmic scheme to deflate my ego, and the end result will be no more library books.  Ever.  So, I'll just start out low-balling it.

Library books/audio books read/listened to in 2013:

  1. A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie (January 2013)
  2. Cat's Cradle, volume one by Jo Rioux (February 2013)
  3. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (couldn't find my copy!/February 2013)
  4. The Hours by Michael Cunningham (March 2013)
  5. The Collector by John Fowles  (March 2013)
  6. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (March 2013/audio)
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (April 2103/audio)
  8. Sherlock Holmes stories, volume one, by Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle (April 2013/audio)
  9. Joy in the Morning by P.G. Wodehouse (April 2013/audio)
  10. Sherlock Holmes stories, volume two, Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle (April 2013/audio)
  11. Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton (May 2013)
  12. Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth (May 2013)
  13. The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin (May 2013)
  14. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton  (May 2013/audio)
  15. Sherlock Holmes stories, volume three, Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle (May 2013/audio)
  16. Young Men in Spats by P.G. Wodehouse (May 2013/audio)
  17. Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal  (May 2013/audio)
  18. Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews (May 2013/audio)
  19. 8 Faces at 3 by Craig Rice  (June 2013/through interlibrary loan)
  20. Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer (June 2013/ebook)
  21. A Christmas Journey by Anne Perry  (June 2013/audio)
  22. Flush by Carl Hiaasen (June 2013/audio)
  23. Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae Brown (June 2013/audio)
  24. The Secret of Chimneys  by Agatha Christie (June 2013/audio)
  25. Innocent Blood by P.D. James (June 2013/audio)
  26. Murder by Experts  by Anthony Gilbert  (June 2013)
  27. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim  (June 2013/audio)
  28. The Patient in Room 18  by Mignon Eberhart (June 2013)
  29. The Norths Meet Murder by Frances and Richard Lockridge   (June 2013)
  30. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (June 2013/audio)
  31. Night Has a Thousand Eyes  by Cornell Woolrich  (July 2013/audio)
  32. Mamur Zapt and the Return of the Carpet  by Michael Pearce  (July 2013/audio)
  33. The House without a Key by Earl Derr Biggers  (July 2013)
  34. The Barakee Mystery by Arthur Upfield  July 2013)
  35. The Case of the Velvet Claws by Erle Stanley Gardner (July 2013)
  36. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared  by Jonas Jonasson. (July 2013/audio)
  37. Every Crooked Nanny  by Mary Kay Andrews (July 2013/audio)
  38. If You Ask Me (and Of Course You Won't) by Betty White  (July 2013/audio)
  39. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan   (July 2013/audio)
  40. The Penguin Pool Murder  by Stuart Palmer July 2013/through interlibrary loan)
  41. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley (July 2013/ebook)
  42. The Barn Owl's Wondrous Capers  by Sarnath Banerjee (August 2013/through interlibrary loan)
  43. A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan (August 2013)
  44. Transparent Things by Vladimir Nabokov  (August 2013)
  45. The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith  (August 2013/ebook)
  46. Death of a Gossip by M. C. Beaton  (August 2013/audio)
  47. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery  (August 2013/audio)
  48. Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery  (August 2013/audio)
  49. Anne of of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery  (August 2013/audio)
  50. The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler  (August 2013)
  51. Instructions for a Heat Wave by Maggie O'Farrell  (August 2013/audio)
  52. The G-String Murders by Gypsy Rose Lee (August 2013/through interlibrary loan)
  53. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (August 2013)
  54. The Girl in Blue by P.G. Wodehouse (September 2013/audio)
  55. The Frightened Wife and other murder stories (1953) by Mary Roberts Rinehart (September 2013)
  56. Past Tense by Catherine Aird  (September 2013/audio)
  57. The Case of Jennie Brice by Mary Roberts Rinehart  (September 2013/audio)
  58. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote (September 2013/ebook)
  59. Overture to Death by Ngaio Marsh (October 2013)
  60. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiel Hammett (October 2013)
  61. Little Women  by Louisa May Alcott (October 2013/audio)
  62. The Cuckoo’s Calling  by Robert Gailbraith (October 2013/audio)
  63. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (October 2013/audio)
  64. The Black Angel  by Cornell Woolrich (October 2013/audio)
  65. The Marseilles Caper  by Peter Mayle (October 2013/audio)
  66. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir by Ellen Forney (November 2013)
  67.  The Highly Effective Detective Goes to the Dogs by Richard Yancey (November 2013)
  68. The Zoo with the Empty Cage by Steven Bezenoff (November 2013/ebook)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day, and This Week in Review

In honor of Father's Day, here are two very important Fathers.

Me and My Dad

I never met my Father-in-law, and don't have a photo of him with my husband, but here he is at Fort Jackson, S.C. in the early 1950's.  He's the handsome man smoking a pipe, behind the desk. 


About this week. . . .

This week has been a bit out-of-the-ordinary, so I'm behind on my spring cleaning schedule.  I'm not stressing over it, well I'm trying not to, because that's life!

My husband was on vacation Monday and Tuesday, and everything falls by the wayside when he is on vacation.  I spend the next day catching up on dishes, as I tend to just sit around with him when he is home.  I'm lucky in that I married my best friend--if the only downside is a messy house, so be it!

Mom came over Wednesday and gave me a hair cut.  I have naturally curly hair, and all my life it's been a trauma trying to find a professional to give me a decent cut.  So, for most of my life, Mom has cut it for me and done a darn good job.  We are living close together again after about 10 years, and after several years of lazy, long, just-pull-it-off-my face hair, I had her cut it into a stylish bob for me again.  It looks SO much better.  It feels better too--my hair is so thick and heavy, that it took an hour to thin it out.  There was probably a pound of hair in the trash can.  Every time I lifted the lid, my heart stopped!  It looked like a corpse was crammed in our trash can!  Anyway, my hair is so much nicer now; I'm so grateful that Mom is willing to take the time to cut it!

On Thursday, I was going to run errands, but slept late.  (I don't generally go to sleep before 3 a.m., and often later, so sleeping late can end up being quite late!)  Turned out to be a good thing, though, because a rare tornado came through our county right at the time I would have been out and about.  I was glad to be home; if I had been out, I would have been so worried about the cats!

Friday was errand day--just a quick trip out and back with time to work more on sorting books.  I'm trying to get them all ready for my husband's shelves.  I am disappointed that I didn't do more than daily dishes and sweeping (I haven't even cleaned the bathroom this week), but it was a short week and there is always next week.  It's not like the house is going anywhere!

Saturday we went for a lovely drive into the next county for fresh produce.  We got tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupes, Vidalia onions and apples.  I sure do hate hot weather y'all, but I sure do love the fruits of a growing season!

A road trip for us generally means taking cameras and stopping to snap any interesting thing we see.  That is one of my joys in life, and I'm so lucky he shares that pleasure too!

Mom's garden has already produced it's first mess of green beans.  They were yummy too!  I'm hoping her cucumbers will produce enough for me, too, as I never can get enough!

first fruits of Mom's garden
I've not been cross-stitching much this week, as I've been reading more than crafting.  I am still working on the frames for the Frosted Pumpkin's Summer Sampler, but I've not been working as steadily on it as I would like.  The first patterns will be released on June 21st, so I'd better get a move-on!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Monthly Mix-up Mania Challenge

I found another interesting reading challenge!  This one is called the Monthly Mix-up Mania.  I think it might be fun to give a try, especially as I can take two years to complete it.

What: To read a book for each letter in the year. That's right, a title for the J in January and the A in January, etc.... 74 books total!

 Official Start date: April 1, 2013, because we're fools to try this but any book read since 1-1-13 that you didn't already use for the 2011-2013 edition counts ;)

 End date: March 31, 2015, yes, two years, because well, we have other challenges to do.

Other guidelines:

  • only one letter per book 
  • books can be moved around if it fits better somewhere else after you've read it 
  • the letter doesn't have to be the first word, just the first letter of a word in the title (a, an, and the do not count)

J   Joy in the Morning by P.G. Wodehouse (April 2013/audio)
A   Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton (May 2013)
N  Nemesis by Agatha Christie (May 2013/audio)
U  The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (March 2013/audio)
A   A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie (January 2013)
R   Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (May 2013/audio)
Y   The Yellow Streak by Valentine Williams (May 2013)

F    Flush by Carl Hiaasen (May 2013/audio)
E   Murder by Experts by Anthony Gilbert  (June 2013)
B  The Barakee Mystery by Arthur Upfield  (July 2013)
R  The Patient in Room 18 by Mignon Eberhart (June 2013)
A   A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton (May 2013/audio)
R   Mamur Zapt and the Return of the Carpet by Michael Pearce (July 2013/audio)
Y  Young Men in Spats by P.G. Wodehouse (May 2013/audio)

M   Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth (May 2013)
A   Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (April 2013/audio)
R  The Red Trailer Mystery by Julie Campbell (July 2013)
C   Who Killed the Curate? by Joan Coggin (May 2013)
H   The Hours by Michael Cunningham (March 2013)

A  The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie   (June 2013/audio)
P   Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie  (July 2013/audio)
I    Bars of Iron by Ethel M. Dell (April 2013) 
L    The Chief Legetee by Anna Katherine Green (January 2013)

M   Dead Men Don't Ski by Patricia Moyes (May 2013)
A   Anne of Green Gables  by Lucy Maud Montgomery  (August 2013/audio)
Y   Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge (July 2013)

J   The Case of Jennie Brice by Mary Roberts Rinehart  (September 2013/audio)
N  The Norths Meet Murder by Frances and Richard Lockridge   (June 2013)
E   Night Has a Thousand Eyes by Cornell Woolrich (July 2013/audio)

L  The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley (July 2013)
Y  Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae Brown (June 2013/audio)

A    Down Among the Dead Men by Patricia Moyes  (June 2013)
G  The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin (May 2013)
S   Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (May 2013/audio)
T   The Black Thumb by Constance and Gwyneth Little  (June 2013)

S  Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews (May 2013/audio)
E  Some Die Eloquent by Catherine Aird    (August 2013)
P  Black-headed Pin by Constance and Gwyneth Little (May 2013)
T  The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (July 2013/audio)
E  The Enchanted April  by Elizabeth von Arnim   (June 2013/audio)
M  The Mouse in the Mountain by Norbert Davis (July 2013)
B   At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie (March 2013/audio)
E  Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell  (August 2013)

O  The Ocean at the End of the Lane  by Neil Gaiman  (July 2013/audio)
C   Cat's Cradle by Jo Rioux (February 2013)
T   From This Dark Stairway by Mignon Eberhart (July 2013)
O  The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson 
(July 2013/audio)
B   The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (April 2013/audio)
E  Every Crooked Nanny  by Mary Kay Andrews (July 2013)

N  N or M? by Agatha Christie (July 2013/audio)
O  If You Ask Me (and Of Course You Won't) by Betty White  (July 2013/audio)
V  Venus in Copper by Lindsey Davis (May 2013/audio)
E  Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett  (September 2013/audio)
M  The Mirror Crack'd  by Agatha Christie (March 2013/audio)
B  Why Kill a Butler? by Georgette Heyer  (June 2013)
E  The Highly Effective Detective Goes to the Dogs by Richard Yancey (November 2013)

D   Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (February 2013)
C   The Collector by John Fowles (March 2013)
M  A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie (March 2013/audio)
B  The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold  (July 2013)

Currently need: 
E x 3
J x 1
R x 5
U x 5