Showing posts from 2008

The 99 Things Meme

This was fun. Feel free to copy.
Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/world.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.

TBR Day -- Dark Champion / Jo Beverley. 1993

This is officially the last day of Keishon's TBR challenge for 2008. I actually managed to complete an entry for each month (July's was by the skin of my teeth). Before I start my review I want to thank Keishon for a fun challenge. Not only did I make a literal dent in my TBR pile, but I found some other very interesting blogs that are now in my reader's subscription log. I can thank those blogs for some additional excellent reading this year as I tracked down several other books that were mentioned. Now that I almost exclusively only buy ebooks, it is no lie to say my physical TBR is smaller than it used to be. Thanks, Keishon! Now, on to this month's review.

I actually started another book for this month's TBR pick. But I wasn't loving it. I wasn't hating it, but it didn't grab me. I wanted to read something that would grab me, so I put the first book aside and reached for this one. Excellent choice as it turned out. From the initial grusome scene I wa…

Marrying the Captain / Carla Kelly. 2009

Technically this book doesn't go on sale until January 1, but Harlequin makes its books available a month early via their website for print books or via their ebook site. Using the latter, I had this loaded on my PDA in the early hours of December 1 and finished it the next day. Carla Kelly is one of my favorite authors. I really look forward to her new releases and once again I was not disappointed.

Here's the blurb:

Ever since her father tried to sell her as a mistress to the highest bidder, Eleanor Massie has chosen to live in poverty. Her world changes overnight when Captain Oliver Worthy shows up at her struggling inn. Despite herself, Nana is drawn to her handsome guest….

Oliver planned to stay in Plymouth only long enough to report back to Lord Ratliffe—about Nana. But he soon senses that Lord Ratliffe is up to something, and Oliver will do anything to keep this courageous, beautiful woman safe—even marry her!

Nana Massie, her grandmother, and their two servants make up a s…

Phyl's 5 Phaves from November

November was a pretty darn good reading month. I have to say that I honestly enjoyed every book I read last month. Some better than others, but nothing said "meh" to me when I was finished. Considering I had one set of family here for a week and then took off to visit another set of family for Thanksgiving, I'm amazed I read as much as I did.

This month's honorable mention goes to the trio of old Anne Stuart books I read: One More Valentine, Cinderman, and The Soldier and the Baby. I bought a collection on Fictionwise of Anne Stuart "out-of-print gems." These are 3 of the 5 books included in the collection. They're from the mid-1990s and each campy and fun. It's interesting to read earlier work from one of my favorite authors. I hope they bundle more of her older books. On to my 5 Phaves:

5. Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James. This was a very entertaining book about a lawyer from Chicago who is on temporary assignment in Los Angeles for her f…

TBR Day. What a Lady Wants / Victoria Alexander. 2007

This book came out nearly 2 years ago in January 2007 and it’s been sitting on my PDA for about that long. That’s the great thing about ebooks. You can carry several dozen of them around at once and your purse or pocket isn’t any heavier than it would be otherwise. Of course, it’s also easy to forget what’s there or get distracted by other, newer titles like The Bazillionaire’s Pregnant Virgin Mistress (B comes way before W in the alphabetical list, see) that I end up reading first.

Anyhow, this is Book 2 in her 4-book series, Last Man Standing, about 4 friends in Victorian England who make a tontine over who will be the last one to get married. Book 4, Seduction of a Proper Gentleman came out in August. Anyhow, here’s the blurb:

Nigel Cavendish knows he'll marry one day, but hopefully that day is many years—and many women—in the future! Until then, the handsome, unrepentant rake intends to enjoy life's pleasures to the fullest!

From the moment Lady Felicity Melville spies the …

World Diabetes Day 2008

Every 10 seconds a person dies from diabetes-related causes.
Every 10 seconds two people develop diabetes.
Over 250 million people live with diabetes worldwide. In 2025, this figure will reach 380 million.
More than 200 children a day develop type 1 diabetes.
In developing countries, close to 75,000 children live with diabetes in desperate circumstances.
Type 1 diabetes is increasing fastest in pre-school children, at a rate of 5% each year.Type 2 diabetes has been reported in children as young as eight.
Type 2 diabetes affects children in both developed and developing countries.

I'd like to call special attention to those 200 children who develop type 1 diabetes every day. Today was picked as World Diabetes Day because it is the birthday of Frederick Banting, who along with Charles Best, is credited with discovering insulin in 1921. Before that discovery, those 200 children were condemned to death within about six weeks of diagnosis. Even today, in many parts of the world, insulin is ha…

Learning Web 2.0

I'm at a workshop today and I'm learning nifty things about Blogger. Here I am sending a post via email. Nifty.

"She makes her own quilts"--Prov. 31:22 (NJB)

Being with Him / Jessica Inclan. 2008

Recently I saw a review or a blurb for the October release, Intimate Beings by Jessica Inclan and I was intrigued enough that I made a note of it. When I saw that IB is the second in a trilogy, I knew I’d have to read #1 first, which is Being with Him. I finished it over the weekend and really enjoyed it. Here’s the blurb from BWH:

They are here among us...

Far from home, gifted with special abilities, hunted for their powers. And they are desperate to find their other, the one who completes them...before it's too late...

Sometimes, Time Really Does Stand Still

Mila Adams has always known she was different. For as long as she can remember, she has had the ability to shift time, and who would believe that? Certainly not the obnoxious blind dates her mother keeps foisting off on her. But Mila can't help feeling there's someone out there for her, a soul mate who might understand her unique ability. And when she looks into the dark eyes of financial whiz Garrick McClellan, s…

Phyl's 5 Phaves from October

October was a busy month with me wrapped up in baseball and with a quilt deadline, so it doesn't seem as if I did as much reading as usual. But I did manage to find a few favorites that deserve to be mentioned:

5. Rake's Ransom by Barbara Metzger. This was my October TBR read and a thoroughly delightful traditional Regency. I really liked the snappy dialogue and the way the heroine turned from an immature girl into a young woman.

4. The One I Want by Nancy Warren. I've read a few of Nancy Warren's "Bad Boys" novellas but this was the first full-length novel of hers I'd read. This is a fun story of a spoiled rich girl who leaves her native England for Texas when her parents decide she needs to be on her own and earn a living like the rest of us. She decides to start a business that's the opposite of match-making: she'll help couples break up in a gentle, civilized way. She arranges through a friend to rent a house from a former cop who happens to l…

Anthologies, Anthologies

First, we have to celebrate! Phils win! Phils win!

My preoccupation with the World Series coupled with a quilt deadline has resulted in fewer lengthy chunks of time for reading. So mixed in with the full-length books I finished this month are a couple of anthologies. And I just got started on a third. I love 100-page novellas. I can usually knock one off in an hour and get back to whatever other stuff is waiting for me. It's often chancy with novellas. Some authors are very, very good with them. Some.... eh, not so good.

I pretty much lucked out with these two. The first one, It Happened One Night, is a Regency collection that was an interesting experiment inspired by an idea of Mary Balogh's. What if 4 authors agreed to write stories based on the same basic plot? How similar or different would the stories be. Mary was convinced the stories would be quite different, and she was right. In this case the plot is 2 lovers reunite after a chance encounter at an inn. The 2 haven't…

TBR Two-Fer--Two Barbara Metzger classics

When Signet was still publishing traditional Regencies, they would occasionally reissue two older titles in a combined volume. It was a great way for newer readers to acquire classic books from favorite authors. I picked up a few of these back in 2005 and 2006 and this is one I never got around to reading. This particular duo was reissued in 2006. I love Barbara Metzger’s old Regencies. Like Mary Balogh and Carla Kelly, Metzger has a unique voice. Unlike the other two authors, though, Metzger’s books tend to be much lighter. When I want a dash of humor, I can usually count on a Metzger. Her dialogue sparkles and her books are easy to read.

This duo consists of Rake’s Ransom, originally published in 1986, and A Loyal Companion, originally published in 1992. Interestingly, the stories are very similar (other duet reissues I have don’t have stories that mirror one another as much as this book does). Both books include:

A young heroine, raised in the country, spoiled by her widowed father…

Sharing blog love

Last week Jace tagged my blog as one of her favorites. How flattering! I'm supposed to tag some other blogs, but since several of my favorites have already been tagged, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of what's in my feeder so you can learn a little more about me. So apologies, Jace, for breaking the rules, but I hope the 3 or 4 of you who read this blog enjoy seeing where I hang out! OK, technically this isn't a blog, but my guys are halfway to the Fall Classic and I am obsessed with baseball right now. I also follow Penn State (we're Number 3! we're Number 3!) and the Eagles. I love the fall when I can quilt while I listen to football or baseball at the same time.

My favorite quilting blogs include:

Valori Wells. Valori is a talented artist and designer. I enjoy learning about her design process coupled with glimpses of her beautiful family.
SHNOODLE.A block a day. Seriously. I'm beyond impressed.
Will Work for Fabric. And you think I'm prod…

Phyl's 5 Phaves from September

Well, according to that list on the right I only read 10 books last month. Unusual for me as I tend to average 15-20 books per month. But I guess it makes it easier for me to choose my 5 phaves:

5. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs. This was my first book by PB. And I know some other bloggers have said this book can stand alone, but I strongly disagree. The novella "Alpha and Omega" appeared in the anthology On the Prowl and I am so glad I read that first. I think many nuances would have gone straight over my head had I not. Several times I saw references to what had come before and I couldn't imagine NOT having read AaO first. That said, Cry Wolf was very entertaining and an interesting way for a newbie to enter PB's world.

4. One with the Darkness by Susan Squires. This is her latest entry in her companion series, a different take on the whole vampire thing. This was done with a time travel (TT) twist. The book begins and ends in 19th century Italy, but the bulk of it take…

Amy Butler book signing

My LQS sponsored a trunk show and personal appearance by fabric designer Amy Butler last night. Lucky me--I had time to go and meet this extremely friendly, charming, and talented woman. Her fabrics and designs have had a major impact on quilters. Here's a shot of one of the displays of her projects:

This one is a shot of her latest line, Daisy Chain, on the middle shelf:

Here she's talking to one of the people who came to talk to her. She was generous with her time. She explained a little about her design process and answered all kinds of questions:

She's signing one of her books:

Finally, here's what I came home with:

I got a packet with 2 (two!) free patterns, autographed by Amy; a free fat quarter; and 2-1/2 yards for a new purse. Although upon reflection, I'm thinking of doing a messenger bag instead for my laptop.

The Sugar Queen / Sarah Addison Allen. 2008

Sarah Addison Allen’s first book, Garden Spells, was one of my 5 Phaves for July. I eagerly looked forward to her 2nd book, The Sugar Queen, and I was not at all disappointed. This is a wonderful novel of a woman shut off from life who comes into her own. Along the way, issues of love, sisterhood, familial responsibility, forgiveness, food, and living life on your own terms are explored. Somehow, Ms. Addison manages to weave all of these themes into this relatively short book while telling a delightful story with warm, engaging characters.

Aside—I wish I belonged to a book club. Either one of her books would make a terrific book club selection. There’s a lot to talk about.

Josey is the sugar queen. She’s a 27-year old woman very much under her mother’s thumb. She still lives at home and spends her days doing whatever her mother asks her to do. Josey has virtually no life of her own, except for her very secret stash of sweets, romance novels, and travel magazines that are all hidden awa…

ADD part 2

Those 3 projects I have had going apparently weren't enough to entertain me. I saw a version of this basket quilt in Fons & Porter this month. I had been thinking I'd like a project I could hand quilt, and this seemed good for that. It's almost done. It's called Williamsburg Basket because in the magazine it used a reproduction fabric collection. But I pulled some stuff out of my stash. All those half square triangles were a good reminder of the importance of an accurate seam allowance. I did a fair bit of re-sewing, LOL!

Meanwhile, a friend purchased a Halloween kit in July and asked me to make it for her mother who was born on Halloween. They make a big deal about every year. So, when we were at the Sisters show where there were several Halloween quilts for sale, I told her that I'd make a quilt for her mom if she could pick out a pattern or kit that would go together quickly. This is from a fabric collection called Midnight Mischief from Clothworks. Sorry abo…

TBR Day. A Matchmaker's Christmas / Donna Simpson. 2002

A Christmas book? Yes, well, Hurricane Ike literally blew through Ohio on Sunday, knocking out our power and pretty much ruining my plans to use an ebook that's been sitting on my hard drive for over a year for this month's TBR read. Things still aren't quite back to normal (The Kid is off school for the 3rd day in a row), so I needed something that wouldn't take long to read. A traditional Regency fits that bill, and the first one I grabbed was this one:

Donna Simpson is the author of about a dozen traditional Regencies, including one of my favorites, Lord St. Claire's Angel. She writes paranormals now as Donna Lea Simpson. I must admit that I haven't read any of those yet, but I certainly enjoyed the half dozen or so of her Regencies that I have, including this one.

A Matchmaker's Christmas is actually 3 romances for the price of one. The primary romance is between Beatrice Copland and Sir David Chappell. Beatrice is the companion of elderly Lady Bournaud. …

I think I have ADD

I'm one of those people who constantly moves from project to project. I do finish things, but midway through one project I'll stop and pull out fabric to start another one. Or something will come up that makes me start in on something else--a challenge, a class, a need to make a gift, or a new fabric purchase. All of those things change my focus. I don't want to admit how many UFOs (UnFinished Objects) I have here, but if I were totally honest, it's probably at least a dozen. Here are 3 I started this summer. And I'm not including the one I started the other night because I couldn't get a decent picture of it.

This first one is from a class I took in June with 2 friends. I still have 4 more flowers to add to it. This is funky and fun, but it's large and appliqueing down the flowers is awkward at times.

A while back I posted a picture of some flower blocks that I'm doing as part of an exchange with the same 2 friends. I had another set of blocks to finish …

Phyl's 5 Phaves from August

I read quite a few good ones last month and it was hard to narrow it down to just 5. So as a bonus here 3 honorable mentions that didn't make the cut: The Last Rake in London by Nicola Cornick, Flashpoint by Jill Shalvis, and Your Mouth Drives Me Crazy by HelenKay Dimon. Fun reads all. But the 5 best of the month were:

5. Never Lie to a Lady by Liz Carlyle. This one came out last year, but I waited for all 3 books in the trilogy to be published before starting in on it. It was worth the wait. I liked this story of two people who felt very much on the outside of the society in which they lived. They had much in common and their story was very believable. The plot involves some interesting intrigue that pits the hero and heroine against one another at first and I enjoyed the way it was resolved. And I swear, Liz Carlyle gets the best covers.

4. The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran. This is the author's first book. It was the winner in a first chapter contest held by I…

TBR Day. Tapestry / Karen Ranney. 1995

There are times when I read a book and I marvel at the mind behind the words. A mind that’s able to evoke so many different ideas and emotions that I continue to think about the book long after I finished reading it. I am left unwilling to start another book because I want to continue to enjoy what I just read, by thinking about it or going back to re-read various sections. This is what happened to me after I read this month’s TBR installment, Tapestry by Karen Ranney.

I’ve gushed over Ranney’s books before. And it is worth noting that she has a new book out on Tuesday. I am so all over that one. It’s already available to pre-order on Fictionwise. But back to Tapestry. Here’s the blurb:

Tapestry is the story of first love/only love. Laura Blake has been in love with her next door neighbor, Alex Weston, ever since she was a child. The Seven Years War separated them, however, and in the intervening years, Alex lost his youthful enthusiasm for life while Laura grew into a woman--more certa…

Phyl's 5 Phaves from July

This month I read some good ones. But my 5 favorites were:

5. Fairyville by Emma Holly. Hot. Very hot. It is Emma Holly after all. But a delightful story that includes a world that was fun and interesting. Great characters. And hot. Very, very hot. Let's move on, shall we?

4. Tall Tales and Wedding Veils by Jane Graves. A very humorous story about 2 people who are as different as night and day. They are from the same town in Texas, but meet in Las Vegas where they end up getting married, only to regret it the next morning. Once back home they decide to maintain the fiction of the marriage for a month (the reasons are good ones). And of course in the process they fall in love and discover how to live with their differences. I laughed and I cried. I love a book that can make me do both.

3. Embraced by Love by Suzanne Brockmann. This is an early one by Brockmann that I found at the library. An unusual story in that it begins 5 years into the h/h's marriage. Their lives are turned up…

Dangerous to Touch / Jill Sorenson. 2008

Jill Sorenson's debut novel came to me (free!) when I won a contest over at HelenKay Dimon's blog last month. I can't remember reading anything out of the Silhouette Romantic Suspense line before, so I was looking forward to giving this one a try. Here's the blurb:

All her life Sidney Morrow had tried to repress her disturbing psychic visions. Until a vision of murder shattered her fragile serenity. She had to go to the authorities—make them listen. But Lt. Marc Cruz didn't trust her one bit. In fact, the sensual homicide cop treated her like a suspect. And sent her senses haywire.…

The dark-haired beauty knew something about the serial killer Marc was after. But he was certain "visions" had nothing to do with it. Determined to be her constant shadow, Marc wasn't prepared when desire blindsided him—and put them both in the path of a relentless killer.

This one had a really interesting premise which made the heroine, Sidney, appealing to me. Sidney has …

TBR Day. Wanted : One Perfect Man / Judi McCoy. 2004

This post is just making it under the wire. Whew. But I did it.

This month's book is a bit of a departure. Most of the books in my TBR pile are historicals, because that's what drew me back into reading romance in the first place. At some point several years ago I read Judi McCoy's "heaven" trilogy and liked it well enough to order her "wanted" series from Amazon (aka Starlight trilogy). I've been meaning to read them ever since. It seemed time to pick a contemporary out of my TBR pile, and this was one of the few available.

Wanted: One Perfect Man is the first book telling the stories of 3 women sent to earth to find specific men and become impregnated by them. These women come from a planet of humans with advanced technological skills, but suffer an inability to give birth to healthy male children. Zara is the heroine of this story. She is sent to a backwater town in north Texas to find the potential father of her baby. She has to adapt to living o…

I made it to Sisters!

Sisters, Oregon, USA--home of the premier outdoor quilt show in the country. Set in the high desert of central Oregon, Sisters is a quaint little town that pulls out all the stops to make thousands of quilt lovers feel at home for one day each year in July. And this year I got to go!

Fun, Funky Flowers

I'm doing a block exchange with a couple of friends and here is my first set of blocks. The pattern we're using uses a free-form piecing technique. It's very fun, although it wastes a lot of fabric. Because it's free-form, the blocks look slightly different from one another, although they were pieced all at the same time.

The pattern is called It's a Riot! from the April 2008 issue of BH&G American Patchwork & Quilting and it can be found here. My friends and I are pretty much following the color choices in the original pattern. But if you go to the AP&Q web site there's an alternate color option with the flowers done in soft blue & pink. Very pretty, too.

Death Angel / Linda Howard. 2008

You can usually count on Linda Howard to write something outside the norm and she's clearly done it again. Her latest book, Death Angel, is a romantic suspense novel that seems to ignore most of the genre conventions, yet succeeds very well.

For example, in your typical romance, it is assumed that the hero and heroine will spend quite a bit of the book in one another's company. That doesn't happen here. Typically, we'll also know the names of our protagonists. In this one, the hero is known simply as the assassin until about 1/4 of the way through the book.

As far as suspense goes, while there's a lot of tension generated by Drea/Andie's story of being on the run, I was really drawn in by her transformation from frilly, mob boss' mistress to independent, self-sufficient woman.

Death Angel is primarily Andie's story. When we meet her, she's Drea Rousseau, a woman who has allowed herself to become a whore for financial security. She's acting a par…

Phyl's 5 Phaves from June

OK, in an effort to discipline myself to blog more, I'm going to try a monthly feature where I'll let you know what my favorite books of the previous month were and why. Some I'll have blogged about, others not. In order, least to most:

5. Rock Star by Roslyn Hardy Holcomb. Ms. Holcomb left some comments in a discussion at SBTB about AA romances which led me to seek out this book. I found it at the library and thoroughly enjoyed this contemporary IR romance. I believe this is Ms. Holcomb's debut novel. I found the characters interesting and their story really drew me in. There's a nice little "mini-sequel" available as a free download on the author's web site.

4. One with the Shadows by Susan Squires. Ms. Squires' first book in this paranormal series about vampires who are created because of a symbiotic parasite in the blood is one of my favorite paranormal books. The book previous to this one was disappointing and I almost decided not to read furth…

The Healer / Sharon Sala. 2008

Sharon Sala (aka Dinah McCall) is a new-to-me author. I ran over to the library to pick up her latest book after seeing the very hilarious Author Talk interview with her, found here. The Healer is a wonderful story that I read in a day and thoroughly enjoyed.

The Healer is the story of Jonah Gray Wolf, a man with very unusual gifts: he can heal people's injuries and illnesses through touch and he can communicate with animals. His life is destroyed, however, when Jonah heals a man who believes that he can achieve immortality if Jonah is under his control. Jonah goes on the run and stays on the run for 10 years until he winds up in a small West Virginia town. This is where the main part of the book begins and here is where he meets Lucia Andahar, a woman who has experienced trauma of her own. At the time of their meeting, Lucia is being stalked and she is increasingly fearful due to the threatening notes the stalker keeps leaving her, as well as an attempt to kill her dog. She and J…