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Showing posts from February, 2009

Scandal / Carolyn Jewel. 2009

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I learned a new word reading this book. That's always fun. It's also great to see another historical from the author of Lord Ruin, a book I really liked. Scandal, by Carolyn Jewel, has received quite a few positive reviews around the web since its release this month and I'm happy to add my voice to the chorus.

I don't have time to write a full review, but let me say that I found this book to be quite fascinating. I had a hard time putting it down once I started. This story of the Earl of Banallt's dedicated, persistent pursuit of Sophie Evans, the widow of Banallt's one-time friend, is moving and emotional. It is told against the backdrop of Napolean's final 100 days--after his escape from Elba, but just before Waterloo. There are reminders in this book, both overt and subtle, that life is precious. The concern about impending war is understated, but I think it serves as an important part of the landscape as we watch Sophie decide whether she's willing t…

Retreating

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I'm packed and ready to go. It's annual retreat time! 48 hours of sewing, friends, as little food as possible (yeah, right!), and not much sleep. This should mean lots of progress on my UFOs!
There's a computer in the lobby of the lodge, but I don't plan to use it.This is one of my favorite weekends of the year! Many thanks to the family who cheerfully see me off each time.

TBR Day -- A Rose at Midnight / Anne Stuart. 1993

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This month's theme in Keishon's 2009 TBR Challenge is to read a book that we bought because of a DIK (i.e. Desert Isle Keeper) review over at AAR. I discovered that I don't have very many unread AAR DIK's lying (laying?--I never know) around. There's Outlander, but that sucker would have taken too long to read. Sigh. One day. Anyhow, I found that I had this book stashed away. I bought it used off Amazon's Marketplace almost exactly 5 years ago. The DIK review is by an AAR reader and may be found here.

If anyone ever wrote the quintessential “tortured hero,” I’m guessing it would be Anne Stuart. Her heroes have been discarded by their families, have made the worst possible choices, and most importantly, seem to thoroughly hate themselves. Usually they are redeemed by innocent (yet feisty!) heroines who teach them how to love (think Chloe & Bastien from Black Ice). In this book Nicholas is about as tortured as any hero can be. What's different this time is…

Kreative Blogger Award

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A couple of weeks ago, Christine kindly honored me with a Kreative Blogger Award. As Christine said, we both have a love of books and our respective crafts (cross stitch in Christine's case). I'm flattered by the award, and in the "Kreative" spirit, I thought I'd share 6 things I've learned about creativity through my quilting:

1. You don't have to finish everything you start. (This applies to books as well as quilts.) Some things just don't "work" but they can be instruments of learning. The colors may be off, the balance of shapes may be wrong, or it's just plain boring. Life is too short to waste on projects (or books) that are no longer interesting. Stop and go work on (or read) something that IS interesting.

2. Step back and take a long view once in awhile. Colors look very different together from afar than they do up close. It's the impact they have from a distance that you want to focus on.

3. Use more red, yellow, and orange. T…

Scents

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Authors will frequently use scents and perfumes as descriptors to help shape their characters. Usually these are pretty recognizable, such as fruits or plants like lavendar. One that I saw recently was new to me, although in looking around I found out that it's really extremely common.

When I read Veiled Promises last month, we were frequently told that Matteo smelled of bergamot. I'd never heard of it before and discovered that it's a common ingredient in modern perfumes and deoderants. I was curious as to what it smells like.



Meanwhile, for Christmas I received a gift card to The Candle Lab, a small group of local stores that lets you make your own scented soy candles. On Saturday I went in to use my card and saw that bergamot was one of the available scents and decided to make a candle with that scent mixed with lavendar and english ivy. I like it. It's very strong though--tangy and sharp. I can only burn the candle for half an hour or so before it gets too strong. A…

Phyl's 5 Phaves from January

It was actually rather difficult to pick my 5 favorite books from last month. Only a couple stood out as being fabulous reads. Most were just average. They were enjoyable, but not so compelling that I dropped everything to finish them. Maybe that's why I got so much quilting done. I wasn't held captive by my reading. It's interesting to note that 4 of the 5 are historicals, but not a Regency-set in sight. One medieval and 3 Georgians. I came this close to putting Sylvia Day's Don't Tempt Me on the list, which is set in pre-Terror Paris. It deserves an honorable mention for the setting alone.

5. What a Scoundrel Wants by Carrie Lofty. This book took me over a week to read. Like Christine I found this book very slow going to start. I spent a week reading the first half. I finished the last half over a two-day period. I really enjoyed how different it was from more traditional romance. Even though I wasn't loving it, I kept at it because there's been so much po…