Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Sweethearts' Knitting Club

by Lori Wilde is the story of love and redemption in a small Texas town.

Jesse Calloway has spent the last ten years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. He is sure that he was set up on a cocaine charge by the sheriff's son, Beau Trainer. When Jesse gets out early, he heads home to Twilight, Texas to clear his name, get revenge on Beau, and reclaim his lost love, Flynn MacGregor. Unfortunately for Jesse, Flynn has just accepted Beau's fourth marriage proposal.

Flynn has spent the last fifteen years taking care of her family while her mother was dying, but now the family is doing well and Flynn is struggling to let go and get on with her life. Her mother's dream was to own a yarn store, so Flynn sets about trying to fulfill her mother's last request.

I love the Gilmore Girl references, and the members of the Sweethearts' Knitting Club are delightfully funny. This novel starts slowly and ends too quickly.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Truly, Madly by Heather Webber

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Truly, Madly is the first in a promised series of books about Lucy Valentine, by Heather Webber; hopefully, it will not be the last.

Lucy's family owns Valentine, Inc., a matchmaking business in Boston. The thing is, the family doesn't so much match make as use their love-related physic ability to find the perfect love matches. Unfortunately for Lucy, a lightening strike when she was 14 zapped the ability to make matches, but left her with the ability to find lost objects.

When Lucy's father suffers a minor heart attack, Lucy gets roped into working at Valentine, Inc. While meeting with her first client she gets a physic vision of a dead body and sets out to solve the mystery with her hunky upstairs neighbor.

Truly, Madly is a quick read. It is a cozy mystery with a physic theme and the characters are nice people who are a little bit flawed. So basically, they are like all the rest of us mortals.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Postmistress

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I don't know who is responsible for choosing the First Look Book Club books at Barnes and Noble, but my suggestion is to steal their reading list and buy every book.

The Postmistress is an outstanding story that transports the reader back to 1940, the time before WWII started for the United States, but England is being bombed on an almost daily basis. It is the story of love, loss, and survival told through the eyes of a journalist, a doctor's wife, and the Postmistress of a small Cape Cod town.

Frankie Bard is a journalist on assignment in England with Edward R. Murrow during the Blitz. Frankie sees what is happening to the Jewish people and wants desperately to get the American people involved.

Emma is the doctor's wife. Newly married she moves to his home town and struggles to find her place.

Iris James is the postmaster. She is quite clear on the fact that she is the postmaster, because the post office does not have the position of postmistress. To me, this is the perfect description of Iris a by-the-rules, unbending, strict spinster who one day does not deliver a letter.

Sarah Blake has written an amazing war novel. From the beautiful cover, to the last word, I was enthralled.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why I Think President Obama Won the Nobel Peace Prize

President Obama has been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and all the pundits are up in arms. I mean (they say) he was only in office 18 days before the nominations were set and what has he done that makes him eligible for such an award. Well here's my take on the award.

During the campaign Senator Obama said many times that he would sit and talk with any leaders that would talk to him. Candidate Obama said that dialog was the key to turning enemies into friends. Candidate Obama was ridiculed, by him opponents in both the primaries and the race for president, for his naivete. I think the world was listening, and not only were they listening, but they believed.

Maybe it's enough to be visionary.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Representatives Michelle Bachman and Steve King

I'm sitting here watching C-Span and these two idiots are talking about how Acorn and Planned Parenthood are unethical and immoral. Michelle Bachman (Minnesota) is talking about how President Obama is setting up sex classes in the schools. Steve King (Iowa) has posters (painting-like) of President Obama holding a flag that looks like the posters that used to be shown of Hitler and saying that President Obama is the leader of Acorn.

I don't understand why anyone would vote for either of these idiots. They are ridiculous representatives of their states. The best thing is that the chamber is empty, so these two idiots are talking only to each other. The only thing missing is Sarah Palin.

I'm turning the channel now, I can feel the IQ points seeping from my brain just listening to them.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Lost Symbol

by Dan Brown

As usual, Dan Brown begin his latest thriller with a gruesomely bloody scene and, as usual, I am immediately wanting to know more.

Symbologist and teacher, Robert Langsdon is summoned to Washington DC by his friend and mentor, Peter Solomon, to give a speech. Upon arrival at the U.S. Capitol, Robert finds that there is no speech, but a severed and tattooed hand is discovered in the foyer wearing the Peter's Masonic ring.

Robert must find the hidden Freemason's treasure before midnight, in order to save Peter's life. Robert is soon joined by Peter's sister, Kathleen and together they try to outrun the CIA, Capitol security, and a really bad guy.

A lot of the symbols were lost on me, quite frankly, but I admit that it was kind of fun to unravel the clues and try to solve the easier hidden symbols. Plus it gave me a little break from the murder, mayhem, blood, drowning, bloodletting, torture, self-mutilation, and intensity Dan Brown's novels always bring.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Shortest Distance between Two Women

by Kris Radish is a kind of funny story of four sisters and the mother who raised them. It is mostly the story of Emma, a single forty something, whose midlife crisis arrives just when the family reunion planning is at its peak. Emma, the one who has always done the most work and never complains, reaches her limit after a voicemail from the one who got away. After telling off her three sisters and mother, she temporarily blows off the planning and disappears into her garden.

I have three sisters and my mother is the same age as Marty, the Gilford Girls' mother, but we are nothing like these women. Talk about a bunch of dysfunctional people. If my sisters talked to me the way these women talk to each other, I'd move half way across the US, maybe I'd go to Canada. If my niece and nephews talked the way these nieces and nephews talked in public, I'd wash their mouths out with soap. Seriously!

Kris' characters are not like people I know, but maybe that's why I read her books.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Under This Unbroken Sky

I Got a First Look at Barnes & Noble.  Get Your Copy Now is the first novel by Canadian film maker and screenwriter, Shandi Mitchell. It is set in Western Canada in 1937, is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. I could not put it down.

Under This Unbroken Sky is the story of Theo and Maria Mykolayeko and their children. They are a hard-working family who immigrates to Canada in the 1930s in order to farm and be free from Stalin.

About three years after they arrive, Theo is arrested for stealing his own wheat and sent to prison for two years. Maria is left to bargain with the constable for the wheat, cart, and horse, the only thing the family has left after the farm has been foreclosed upon. She then moves her five young children to the farm of her sister-in-law, Anna, where Maria and the children (including Anna's two) work to survive until Theo is released.

From the Barnes and Noble website, this is page one.

There is a black-and-white photograph of a family: a man, woman, and five children. Scrawled on the back, in tight archaic script, are the words Willow Creek, Alberta, 1933. This will be their only photograph together.

They are posed in front of a hand-hewn log granary. The adults are seated on wooden chairs, centered to frame. They are dressed in their church best.

The man, his hair clipped short, wears a white, high-collared, pressed shirt, tightly knotted tie, a dark woolen suit, and broken-in work boots. He looks like a tall man. Large hands rest on his knees. His legs are crossed.

The woman wears a dark, modest knee-length dress and low-heeled shoes with sturdy ankle straps. No stockings. On her lap is a baby, a white blur squirming to escape the woman's strong hold. He is round and fat, in stark contrast to the other thin forms.

Three sisters ordered in ascending age are interspersed between their parents. On the far end stands the eldest boy. He is ramrod-straight. Chin up. Though they all wear summer clothes, they are standing in four inches of snow.

They stare straight ahead, their eyes lost in shadows. Expressionless. Arms rigidly pressed against their sides. Holding their breath as the photographer counts: one hundred and one, one hundred and two, one hundred and three . . .

Within three years, this farm will be foreclosed. Two years later, one will die. Two others, of whom there is no photograph, will be murdered.

But this day, in the moment right after the shutter clicks shut, this family takes a deep breath and smiles.

I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of this enthralling book through the Barnes and Noble First Look on-line book club. Unfortunately, I was so enthralled by the story that I couldn't put the book down until I read the last page. I say unfortunately, because the First Look discussions add so much to the reading of a novel.

In Under This Unbroken Sky Shandi Mitchell makes you root for the family and ache for them when things don't go their way. Because I was with the family through heart ache, hunger, hard work, and love the members of the Mykolayenko will stay with me for a long time. This is a novel that I will read again and recommend to others.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Twenty Wishes

by Debbie Macomber

In the latest installment of the Blossom Street series, we meet the widows. They get together on Valentines day, walk on bubble wrap, then make a list of twenty things they want to do. Of course, all of the lists include find love (duh), therein lies the purpose of the series.

Ann Marie decides to volunteer as a lunch buddy to eight year old Ellen and when Ellen's grandmother has heart surgery, Ann Marie becomes Ellen's foster mother. Barbie goes to a movie and meets Mark. Elise gets a job at the yarn store. Lillie meets Hector when she buys a red BMW convertible.

There were no knitting patterns.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Blood Ballad by Rett MacPherson

You know what I like about Rett MacPherson's Torie O'Shea series? It's the fact that the people are so real. If you live in a small town, you are going to run into the same kind of off beat characters and everyone in town knows your business. I like that Torie's daughters are far from perfect, that they feel like they are not as loved as the other sister, and they fight like my sister and I did long ago.

The latest installment in the Torie O'Shea mystery series by Rett MacPherson involves Torie's long deceased great grandparents in murder, adultery, and copyright infringement.

Glen Morgan the grandson of the famed country group, The Morgan Family, approaches Torie about a book he is planning saying that his grandfather had an affair with Torie's great grandmother and fathered Torie's grandfather. While investigating the veracity of Glen's claim, a man is murdered, a CD about a long ago murder arrives in the mail, and Torie's teenage daughters fight.

All in all, what more can you expect from a cozy mystery.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Teen angst, young love, vampire boyfriend, disapproving family members, you name it, it's all in this book.

The much heralded vampire series by Stephanie Meyers is supposed to be the new Harry Potter, the books that made the young people of the world want to read. I know everyone is gaga over this series and, while it is an easy read, I don't understand the hype. Am I too jaded? Am I spoiled by my love of Harry and his adventures? There just doesn't seem to be enough of what I want to read in Twilight.

Bella moves to Forks, Washington, and falls in love with Edward. Edward just happens to be part of a vampire coven that doesn't attack people. Edward and Bella fall in love and Edward's family has to rescue Bella from a bad vampire. That's about it, what am I missing?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fearless Fourteen

It's been a while since I've blogged anything. First I found Facebook and then my computer was in the shop for three weeks. But here I am, back on track and the most recent book I've read is Fearless Fourteen.

The latest (paperback) chapter in the Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum series is Fearless Fourteen. In this installment Stephanie is followed around by a washed out 60's singing diva, who wants to shoot a reality series about a modern day bounty hunter. Of course, the way Stephanie approaches her job as a bond enforcement agent, is not fodder for a reality show. Trust me, I love reality.

When Stephanie's latest bonded client is kidnapped, Stephanie and Joe end up looking after a 14 year old Goth computer nerd who tags everything in sight (including the dog).

Last night I started Twilight. I'm hoping it lives up to the hype.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Of Bees and Mist

The newest selection for the Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club Of Bees and Mist: I Got a First Look at Barnes & Noble. Get Your Copy Now

In his first novel, Erick Setiawan casts a spell over the reader with words and descriptions that draw you into the story and won't allow you to forget the people you meet. Although it took me a couple of chapters to be drawn in, I soon became enthralled with the characters and their lives.

This magical novel tells the story of a young woman and follows her as she learns to deal with the negativity and deception that surround her. It is the story of two very different families who are joined through marriage and how they really aren't that different in the end.

This book is one that I would recommend to imaginative readers who likes to escape from the reality of daily life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Marie and June Sock

Last night I finished my June socks, and I finished them in just nine days. They look great and I will post a picture and more details about my latest project as soon as I get my computer back from the computer fixing shop. They were the June selection for the Ravelry group, Thrifty Knitter's Sock Group.

Today I went to lunch with my very friends, Mary Jo and Marie. I miss not living in the same neighborhood and seeing them on a daily basis. I think we all miss the "old" neighborhood. Of course, the old neighborhood doesn't exist any longer, so they will all have to move here.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My computer is broken

and boy do I miss it. I'm sitting here at my sister's using her computer while she is on vacation. I took my computer into a new shop to get it fixed ten days ago and it's not a major problem (hopefully, just needs a new back light for the screen). Unfortunately, the "technician" is too busy to get around to fixing it. Now if he had told me that ten days ago, I would have gone elsewhere and if I'd have known eleven days ago that my computer was going to break, I would not have bought a new washer.

I miss keeping up with my on-line friends, but I've read five books and knitted a whole sock since May 24. I think I need to spend a whole lot less time on the computer.

The Divorce Party

by Laura Dave * * * *

Maggie and Nate are planning to marry and Nate's parents are planning to divorce. On the eve of Gwyn and Thomas' divorce party, Maggie finds that Nate has not been honest with her about his past and the fact that his family is part of the uber rich. As Maggie reconsiders her relationship with Nate, Gwyn tries to get Thomas to reconsider the end of their marriage.

The characters in The Divorce Party are real and the insight Ms. Dave shows into their often complicated feelings as they live their lives is truly a party for the reader.

Shadow Dance

by Julie Garwood

* * *
Julie Garwood writes romance books, but she also has the knack for writing a good mystery. Her stories are not unlike the Phyllis Whitney mysteries that I liked to read 30 years ago, with a little romance and sex thrown into the mix.

In Shadow Dance, Ms. Garwood continues the stories of the Buchanan, McKenna, and Clayboure families, that she has written about for years.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

by J. K. Rowling

* * *

Fairy tales and fables told to young wizards and witches. Every Harry Potter fan(atic) will read this book and add it to their Harry Potter collection. Not only is it another clever telling of how good triumphs over evil, but all of the proceeds go to a Children's charity.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow

* * * *

Told in letters mainly from and to Juliet Ashton in 1946. The novel is the story of a group of people who lived in an area occupied by the Germans during WWII. It shares how they came together, both during the war and in the aftermath.

The island of Guernsey is full of characters you will want to meet and the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a book club you will want to join.

This book would be a great book club selection and I recommend it to everyone.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrates Sisters

by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen with pictures by Maria Bushkin Stave

* * Another chicken soup book with touching stories about sisters and relationships between sisters. I got this book from my sister, Nikki, for my birthday and passed it on to my sister, Staci, on her birthday.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Knit Two

Knit Two by Kate Jacobs is the continuing story of the women of The Friday Night Knitting Club. This chapter in the lives of the women takes place five years after Georgia's death and lets the reader know how her daughter and friends are coping.

Dakota, Georgia's daughter, has just started college and is being pushed by her father on a career path she doesn't want to follow. She jumps at the chance, when one of the women, Lucie, gets a job making a music video in Italy, she takes Dakota along as a babysitter. Then Catherine (Georgia's best friend), James (Dakota's father), and Marty and Anita (surrogate parents) come along to work, play, and find a long lost family member.

Not one of my favorites this year, but a good continuation of the story of people of The Friday Night Knitting Club.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

Katherine Howe's first novel The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is definitely one of the best books I have read in a long time. Ms. Howe tells the story of Connie Goodwin, a doctoral candidate in American History, who spends the summer clearing out her grandmother's house in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and ends up discovering Deliverance Dane, a woman condemned as a witch in 1692 Salem.

While looking through the old books in the study, Connie discovers a very old key in a bible. Inside the key is an equally old slip of paper with the name, Deliverance Dane. While looking for information on Deliverance, Connie meets Sam, a very well educated restorer of all things old, while he is restoring a church steeple.

Told through flashbacks, we learn the story of Deliverance Dane, her family, and the Receipt book which is handed down from one generation to the next.

As Connie attempts to get the house ready to sell, she also searches for source material for her Doctorate course of study and is encourage by the adviser to find Deliverance's physick (charms and spells) book.

This book will be on sale in June, so put it on your TBR list and pick up a copy. In my opinion, you won't be disappointed. I hope the binding on the finished copy is half as well done as it is on the ARC. With a flap covering the pages, beautiful artwork, and thick paper, this book will definitely stay in my library.
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fox News (and I use the term loosely)

Can anybody tell me why the talking heads at Fox are so obsessed with lowering the pay of the autoworkers? Seriously, the CEO is making 1.5 million dollars a year after taking a 30 percent pay cut and all Chris Wallace wants to know from David Axelrod is if the labor agreement is up for renegotiation.

I used to be in a union and I made pretty good money and benefits. So what? I made nowhere near what the executives made and, quite frankly, I worked just as hard every day as my boss. Many days, I worked harder and accomplished a heck of a lot more.

In my opinion, the $35 an hour plus benefits is not what has brought the auto industry to its collective knees, it's the million and millions of dollars in compensation that has been and is being paid to the executive.

Chris Wallace, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly; get your heads out of your asses, it's time to sing a new song.

So now you know, I watch Fox News Sunday. I watch them every Sunday, along with Meet the Press, Face the Nation, and This Week with George Stephanopolis. I find Fox to be the most interesting of the Sunday morning shows since the election. It amuses me to watch them try to spin.

Yes, JoJo, it is I. I am so happy to see you again and read your blog.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Silver Needle Murder

The Silver Needle Murder is the ninth Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs. Set with the backdrop of the Charleston Film Festival, Theo Browning is again embroiled in a murder.

This time it is director, Jordan Cole, and as Theo and Drayton try to prove that Timothy's granddaughter should not be a suspect, the festival continues and the danger intensifies.

While it took 240 pages for Theodosia to figure out the killer, I had it figured out quite early. Really though, that's why a cozy mystery is written, to entertain and pass time.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Veiled Antiquity

While I sit here and wait for Barnes & Noble to send me the latest copy of the First Look Book Club book, I'll read A Veiled Antiquity the second in the Torie O'Shea cozy mysteries by Rett MacPherson.

Torie O'Shea is a genealogist and town historian in New Kassel, Missouri. She is also a wife, daughter of the woman who is dating the town sheriff, and the mother of two young daughters, and in her spare time she solves murders and centuries old mysteries.

Marie Dijon is found dead at the bottom of her basement stairs. The police rule the death an accident, but nosy Torie thinks there is more to the story, much more. Especially when she finds an envelope with some very old French documents and a key duct-taped to the underside of the kitchen table.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Family Skeletons by Rett MacPherson

Family Skeletons is the first in the Torie O'Shea mystery series and I was finally able to get my hands on a copy of this book which was published ten years ago. In this book we meet the main characters who will carry on through all the rest of the books as Torie solves her first murder and starts to come to grips with her mother dating the local sheriff.

Torie (Victory) O'Shea is the local genealogist/historian/tour guide in New Kassel, Missouri. When she is approached by Norah Zumwalt to find out about Norah's father who didn't returned from WWII to marry her mother, Torie discovers that he did not die in the war and is still living in the area. Torie goes to Norah's house to give her the results of the search, and finds Norah has been brutally murdered.

With the help of the sheriff, Torie follows the clues and solves not one, but four vicious murders.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton

Last night I finished Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton, a quick and quirky read.

Chloe is the only non-magical inhabitant of Sugar Maple, Vermont, a small tourist town. Chloe's ancestor cast a spell that protects Sugar Maple and its inhabitants from, well everything; death, illness, accidents, crime, and even black ice. Then one day a beautiful stranger falls through the ice and drowns after visiting Chloe's yarn shop, Sticks & Strings. Because there is no crime, there is no police force, and because the beautiful stranger was having an affair with a married politician, an investigation is in order.

Enter Luke MacKennzie, a burned out Boston cop and friend of the dead woman, Suzanne. Luke leaves his job in Boston and is hired to find out what happened to Suzanne. Sparks fly (literally) when Chloe and Luke meet and continue to fly as he solves the mystery and falls in love with the beautiful Chloe.

Quirky characters, romance, magick, a power struggle, gorgeous people, and knitting. What more can an author provide?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Graduation Socks

I finished Shayna's socks, now she must finish her book reports and graduate.

I sure hope she likes them, the Peapod pattern was great and I like the way the socks turned out. Jen Jensen designed the socks and she made the instructions so easy to follow Even for me!

I used Knit Picks' Imagination hand painted yarn in the Unicorn colorway. I usually love Knit Picks' products, but I'm not buying this yarn again as the color variations are noticeable from one hank to the next. Not good when you want the socks to match.

On another note, I found something I like even more than Fiber One bars, Kellogg's Fiber Plus Chewy Bars. OMG they taste like Girl Scout cookies, the good ones.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fleece Navidad

Fleece Navidad is a Christmas, knitting, murder, mystery with knitting patterns and cookie recipes. Hmmmm, I can't think of anything Maggie Sefton left out that I like.

Set in Fort Collins, Colorado and centering around Kelly Flynn and her knitting friends, this book's takes place at Christmas and the hit-and-run murder of the town librarian. Fleece Navidad is the sixth book in the Lambspun Yarn Shop mysteries and, of course, Kelly starts snooping around and finds clues the police have missed.

Although I enjoy Maggie Sefton's Lambspun mysteries, there wasn't a whole lot of mystery in Fleece Navidad. I hope the next book in the series centers more on the main characters, with the mystery being a little more mysterious.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead

Spend the summer with Benji, Reggie, NP, Bobby, Marcus, and the rest of the Sag Harbor friends. A self proclaimed autobiographical novel, Sag Harbor is well worth your time. Benji (oops, Ben) and his friends are your typical almost men teenagers, trying to fit in and move forward with all the hassles and tests that line the path to adulthood.

Sag Harbor
is a very interesting look into the mid 1980s as seen through the eyes of an African American teenager who spends his summers away from his predominately white prep school and reconnects with his black friends.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Mary

Sometimes I wonder what my friends really think about my hobbies, since they usually get birthday presents made by me signifying my latest obsession. Last week Mary, Marie and I got together for lunch to celebrate Mary's birthday. I gave her a pair of homemade socks.

The socks are called (Black)Hearted and I used Stariel's pattern. It was a fairly quick knit and I will probably do it again in a solid colored yarn with beads.

We had a great lunch and visit at La Hacienda. When I came home I took some pictures of the Trumpeter Swans in the field in back of my house. It is so fun to watch them, because as soon as I get anywhere near the field they start walking away from me and talking loudly to each other. I wonder what they are saying about me; wait that doesn't make me paranoid, does it?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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Coraline Jones is a cleverly written children's book, which makes it plain that there is no place like home. One dreary summer day a bored Coraline finds a locked door in her home that opens onto a brick wall. That is, it opens onto a brick wall when her mother is the one who opens the door. Later, Coraline opens the door and steps into an alternate world, where her parents are strange, to say the least. When she steps back into her flat, her parents are gone and she must rescue them from the "other mother".

Monday, February 9, 2009

Blood Relations

Book six in Rett MacPherson's cozy mystery series about genealogist Torie O'Shea introduces Stephanie, the half-sister Torie did not know existed. Of course, finding out she is not her father's only child, causes Torie not just a little angst, even as she warms to not being an only child.

At the same time Torie is finding out about her sister, the Mississippi River goes down and the wreckage of the Phantom are revealed. As the river goes down, a cast of supporting characters arrive in town amid rumors of the uncut diamonds that went down with the ship in 1919. Along with Stephanie and Torie's best friend Collette, there is a group of researchers from a nearby community college and a full-of-himself television reporter and his cameraman.

Shortly after their arrival, one of the visitors is murdered. Because she is the local history and genealogy expert, and unnaturally curious, Torie starts digging for the truth of the wreckage, the survivors, and those who died when the Phantom sank.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Murder Among Us

The latest (well it was published in 1998) installment in the Kate Austen Mystery series by Jonnie Jacobs, is my least favorite in the series, but it is still a good cozy mystery. In Murder Among Us, one of Kate's students is murdered, in what appears at first to be a serial killing, because another young blond (why are they always blond) woman was found in much the same circumstances.

As Halloween approaches, Kate deals with skeletons in the mail, an older, more experienced 18 year old dating her 15 year old "daughter" Libby, a visit from her disapproving, soon to be ex-Mother-In-Law, and an uncaring, unambitious soon to be ex. She is trying to figure out why Julie Harmon, a recent orphan who is living with her ultra-religious half aunt and uncle, was murdered and what it was that Julie was trying to figure out.

The novel takes us into the cyber world or on-line sex and dating sites. There are the usual twists and turns that are always present in Jonnie Jacobs' Kate Austen mysteries, but I had this one figured out pretty early.

And just a side rant from me to those people on PBS who don't follow the conditions rules. You should know better, and next time I'm not giving you my credit for a book that is falling apart.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I finished my hat for February on January 31. Shhhh, don't tell anyone that I started early. The pattern is Edna Rose by Jacki Kelly, and it turned out great. I used Cascade Yarns Pima Tencel, which is the softest yarn I have used. It works wonderfully for hats made for people going through chemo, because the yarn feels like an old, often washed, cotton t-shirt. You know the one I mean, it's the one that is so worn it should not be seen in public, but is so comfortable you just can't throw it away. I gave it to Staci to pass on to her friend, Nell.

Speaking of Nell, her chemo is finished and it looks good that the cancer is gone. Now she just needs to gain some weight and keep healthy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair

Who knew? Divorce can be funny. Well at least divorce can be funny when it's not your own and looked at through the perspective of time. Laurie Perry aka Crazy Aunt Purl started a blog when her husband suddenly left her and she also started knitting. She turned her blog into a book and she turned her new found talent into a new obsession. I know that it was an obsession, because I took up knitting about 15 months ago.

Of course, the book is not always funny. There are many parts of the book where Laurie is just barely getting through the work day without falling apart. Literally. There's the first date who walks out in the middle (okay, that was kind of funny). And there are the loyal friends who drag Laurie kicking and screaming back out into the world.

This book was well worth the price.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Murder Among Friends

was my latest book on the way to my 52 book goal for 2009. Written by Jonnie Jacobs it follows Kate Austen as she tries to solve the mystery surrounding the murder of her friend, Mona. The suspects include a bitter ex-husband, his bimboish fiance Bambi, an angry husband of a student, the daughter's boyfriend, a stranger who is hanging around the school, and the secretly married boyfriend or possibly his wife. That's a heck of a lot of suspects, isn't it?

In this second installment of the Kate Austen cozy mystery series, the author doesn't give away the killer until the last pages. The characters are interesting and a little quirky, the kind of people that are hanging around just about every neighborhood.

I'd definitely give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars on the enjoyable meter.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hat for January

Thanks to my nephew, Quinn's girlfriend Shayna, I have a picture of my latest hat on a real live (not stuffed) person. Of course, you cannot really tell what the hat looks like, but it will be warm and it will be given to charity.

I used the Ground Flower pattern again, by PhoeKnits and Knit Picks Palette yarn in Iris Heather. Not my favorite color, which is why I didn't use it for socks. Too bland.

Here it is January 25 and I've already made all my goals for the month. I've read four books, and knit a hat and a pair of socks. Well, I've made most of my goals, I didn't lose ten pounds. I did lose about seven pounds, so I'm not going to be too disappointed.

I also won a hat from Aurora at . I am very excited, I rarely win anything. Get well soon Aurora.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Murder Among Neighbors

Kate Austen has a five year old daughter and a husband who left her to go find himself in Europe. One morning she goes for a jog and comes home to murder, a career, and a new love.

The first Kate Austen mystery by Jonnie Jacobs introduced some interesting new characters. The characters in the series are well described, but not all of them are very likable. Set in Walnut Hills, California, the background characters are a little snooty, have money, and belong to the country club. Kate, on the other hand, is clever, gutsy, a little bit funny, and appealingly normal. She sets out to find the person who murdered her friend next door.

Jonnie Jacobs writes a mystery, that stays a mystery almost to the end of the book. I suspected each character and was not able to solve this one before the author completed the last chapter.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Goals for January:
  • I finished my first socks for January, well before the end of the month.
  • I'm working on my first hat of the year now and should finish it today or tomorrow.
  • I've read three books and have two more to read before the end of the month.
Brrrr, it is so cold here. It's after 1:00 p.m. and the frost from last night has turned the trees white. It's like all the trees are flocked for Christmas. Plus the evil weather people are talking about snow again. What's up with that?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Barack H. Obama

What a wonderful day!

The Inauguration is complete, the luncheon has begun, and George W. Bush ceases to have any authority over the United States of America. I'm not sure which is more important for this country, but for me, it is the change that I know will be coming regarding our place in the world.

January 20, 2009, it is now true that "all men are created equal".


Friday, January 16, 2009

A Fortunate Age

A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff is the story of six highly educated 20 somethings, starting out in New York. It is set in the late 90s and early part of 21st century and follows five Oberlin graduates as they start their lives, families, and careers.

All of the characters come from comfortable families, and seem to not care about monetary success. The book starts with Lil's wedding and we are introduced to her best friends; Beth, Sadie, Emily, Tal, and Dave.

Tal and Emily are actors and Dave is a musician. Although Tal has found some success, Emily is working in a bank and Dave is a waiter. Sadie is an assistant in a publishing house and Lil is a teacher. Beth is also a teacher, although she is off to a slow career start because of a problem with some credits and her Doctoral Dissertation.

Lil's new husband, Tuck, works for a progressive magazine, but loses his job shortly after the marriage, and can't seem to find a new job that lives up to his high opinion of his standards, so Lil becomes the only one in the family who actually earns a paycheck.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Good Wife Strikes Back

Another true to life book about the pitfalls of letting a marriage stagnate. Elizabeth Buchan writes about Fannie and Will, a couple who just celebrated their 19th anniversary. Will is a British politician and Fannie is his loyal political wife and partner. Their life is complicated by his alcoholic sister, who lives with them, and a daughter who is leaving the nest and setting out on her own.

As Fannie struggles with the day-to-day sameness of a political wife, she also finds she is not sure that the struggle is worth the effort. She longs to find herself and her happiness, by getting more involved in her father's wine business. A trip to Italy is planned and while there, Fannie finds what she misses most . . . herself and ultimately Will.

Dear Sarah

I am so very sorry that the mean old mainstream media was disrespectful of you during your run for Vice President. I apologize for the audacity of Katie Couric asking you what newspapers and magazines you read. How dare she think the American people have the right to know if their elected officials have IQs high enough to actually run the country. Shame on her and the voters. I can certainly understand how you think that anyone who said anything negative about you was just using your celebrity to further their careers. After all, Sarah, you are the center of the universe.

Seriously, keep talking, keep giving interviews, because every time you open your mouth and speak, you put another rock in your boat. How's Russia doing? Still keeping as eye on it from your front porch?

By the way, if you had run as a Democrat in the Democratic party, John McCain would now be the President. Democrats aren't as stupid as you seem to think.

Friday, January 2, 2009

T is for Trespass

To reach my goal of reading 52 books in the next 52 weeks, I chose T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton as my first book of 2009. I really like the alphabetical series that follows Kinsey Millhone, Private Investigator for Santa Teresa, California; however, this was not one of my favorites. I'm not sure if it is because it has been three years since the S was published or if it is because the plot line of this story (elder abuse) could so easily happen to any of us.

This story is told from the viewpoint of Kinsey, the private investigator, who suspects her elderly neighbor is being abused and Solana, the nurse's aide who stole the identity of a coworker, in order to steal the possessions of Kinsey's elderly neighbor, Gus. After Kinsey is hired by Gus' niece to do a background check on Solana, Kinsey starts to suspect that Solana is not she says she is. By then it's too late and Kinsey can't get anyone with authority to believe her suspicions.

The best thing about Kinsey and the alphabet series, is that Kinsey is just like the rest of us. She has a craving for fast and greasy foods, men who aren't good for her, and she is fiercely loyal to her friends.

P.S. It snowed again today, but I had a wonderful lunch with Mary, Marie, and Lee. I sure miss my old neighbors.