Monday, July 23, 2012

Phyl's 5 Phaves from May

5. A Night Like This by Julia Quinn. You know, I had some issues with this book. My main issue was that the hero, Daniel Smythe-Smith, wasn't more careful with the reputation and circumstances of the heroine, Anne Wynter. But darn, I do love the humor and emotion that Quinn can infuse into a book. I cared about Daniel and Anne and enjoyed their story. I don't have a lot more to say about this other than this was a quick and fun read.

4. The Proposal by Mary Balogh. For Balogh's fans, this book has been a long-awaited story involving a minor character from previous books, including the first Balogh I ever read, A Summer to Remember. It's also the first book in a seven-part series (7!) featuring six men and one woman who are survivors of the Napoleonic wars. Plenty of fodder for angst, something Balogh often does really well. In The Proposal Gwen, Lady Muir, is a widow. Her marriage had been a troubled one, and just before her husband's death she'd suffered a riding accident that left her with a permanent limp and cost her the life of her unborn child. Gwen is the daughter and sister of an Earl, raised in and comfortable with the aristocratic society of the ton. Hugo Emes survived the wars physically, but carries many emotional scars. He's inherited his father's profitable businesses and is also responsible for a stepmother and half-sister. Hugo's background is very different from Gwen's and their class differences provide an interesting backdrop to their story. It struck me as very real and I appreciated the way Hugo and Gwen learn to communicate about those differences. By no means among my favorite Baloghs, this was still a solid, enjoyable read.

3. Sydney Harbor Hospital : Tom's Redemption by Fiona Lowe. Lowe's Boomerang Bride came this close to making my November 5 Phaves list and I bought this book wanting to read more by Lowe. Tom's Redemption is part of a connected series of medical romances by different authors, all taking place at Sydney Harbor Hospital. This book is about Tom Jordan, a neurosurgeon who had suddenly taken an unexplained leave of absence two years previously. When he comes back to the hospital it's revealed that he'd lost his sight. He meets Hayley Grey, a surgical registrar (is that what we would call a resident?) who is preparing for her medical exams and has some personal issues of her own. In his two years away, Tom has adapted to being blind and he is discovering that he can teach. Still, is Tom ready to share his life with Hayley? And what about the baggage Hayley brings to their relationship? I liked how their issues were resolved. I don't read many medical romances, so I think that aspect of the setting, as well as descriptions of Sydney, were what made this book so appealing to me.

2. In Enemy Hands by K.S. Augustin. This was probably the most unusual romance I've read in a long time. And if the ending hadn't been so rushed, this would have been my favorite of the month. Anyhow, In Enemy Hands was part of Carina Press's launch in June 2010. It has been sitting on my Kindle for quite some time. Dr. Moon Thadin is a research physicist who believes she has discovered a way to bring dead stars back to life. The Republic wants to test her theory, so she is put into a makeshift lab on a military space vessel that will take her someplace suitable to perform the test. She needs an assistant, and Srin Flerovs is assigned to her. He is capable of performing complex math equations in his head, faster than a computer. However, it turns out that Srin's memory is erased every 2 days. The trick in this book is making a romance believable when the hero "meets" the heroine anew every other day. Shades of "50 First Dates." Only not. Moon has been a loner, focused on her research, and hasn't paid much attention to politics. She only considers the positive ways her research can be used. But Srin manages to make her see that the Republic has much more sinister plans. And so the book becomes an adventure as Srin and Moon find a way to keep Srin's memories intact and free themselves from the Republic. I really enjoyed this and finished it pretty quickly. As I indicated, though, I really would have liked a bit more to the ending.

1. Twisted by Laura Griffin. This is book 5 in Griffin's "Tracers" series, although each book stands alone quite well. This time Allison Doyle, a rookie detective, is involved in what looks to be a simple murder case. But FBI profiler Mark Wolfe is convinced that this murder is the work of a serial killer he's been tracking for 10 years. Mark's job is emotionally taxing and there's also a fairly large age difference between Mark and Allison. He's reluctant to enter into a relationship with Allison, despite the attraction. There's plenty of sexual tension to go along with the suspense of stopping a brutal killer. As usual with Griffin's books, I found it hard to put down. I liked both characters, especially their respective dedication to their jobs. Just another solid entry in the series and easily my favorite read of the month.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I made it BACK to Sisters!

So, if you can stand more nonsense about my vacation, here are some pictures specifically from last Saturday, July 14. As part of our Pacific NW vacation I dragged my DH and Teen to Sisters, Oregon for the day to attend their annual outdoor show. I got to be there four years ago and had a wonderful time. I couldn't wait to get back and it was a treat to be able to do so. One day when I'm retired, I'm going out for the whole week (there are classes and lectures and other events prior to the day of the show).

Lately I've become fascinated by what is being called the modern quilt movement. There's a wonderful definition of modern quilting here. The quilts here seem to me to meet the definition of modern quilting and are among my favorites of what I saw. I absolutely fell in love with these pineapples below. My picture doesn't do this quilt justice.

Both of these appear rather straightforward in construction so what shines is the use of color and shading. 

One of the things that defines modern quilts is the use of negative space. I like the way the gray is used to cause your eye to move across this quilt.

OK, this one probably isn't considered "modern" but I thought it was so pretty in the way brown and green were used.

Finally, there it is. My own Quilt of Many Squares is the 2nd one from the right. I was making a modern quilt and at the time didn't even realize! What a thrill to see my own quilt hanging in Sisters.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I've Been Vacationing!

Things have been a bit quiet around here. I've been busy, though. Exploring the Pacific Coast.

From the Northwest Corner of Washington.

 From the Olympic Peninsula.

From the Mouth of the Columbia River.

To the picturesque Oregon coastline.

 Sometimes it gets a bit foggy.

Lots of times the sun is shining!

It's all too much fun.

P.S. Even with a week to go I can tell you there'll be no TBR post this month!