Thursday, October 20, 2016

The House on Willow Street by Cathy Kelly

The House on Willow Street

Truth be told, I can't quite remember what I liked about this book but the fact that is on the shelf to review and not in a basket on the way to a second hand store suggests I really liked it.

I just read this review from Goodreads and it reminded me of all the twists and turns and excellent characters.  That's why I like this book.

The Irish seaside town of Avalon is a tourist’s dream of quaint shops and welcoming caf├ęs. Avalon House, perched at the end of Willow Street, was in Tess Power’s family for generations. Now Tess ekes out a living from her antiques shop while the crumbling mansion awaits a new owner. Her marriage and business may be floundering, but her affection for Avalon is undimmed. The same can’t be said of her glamorous sister. Suki left without a backward glance and married into an American political dynasty. Only a muckraking biographer could send her slinking back to Ireland to escape a scandal.

Postmistress Danae watches from the sidelines, doling out gentle advice while locking away her own secrets. Then her unconventional niece Mara comes to stay and draws her lonely aunt back into the world. As autumn gives way to winter, the four women encounter old loves, embrace new friendships, and begin to look beyond the past to the possibilities just beginning to unfold.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick

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Amity Doncaster is a world traveller who is used to adventure and risk . . . until she becomes prey of the notorious killer, the Bridegroom.  I am not going to say too much about this book.  That does not mean I didn't like it.  Actually the opposite.  It was a lot of fun and very suspenseful . . . and I'm afraid to give away too much of the story.  So in this case all I will say is if you are looking for a good read this book may be for you.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Surfacing by Margaret Atwood


Surfacing was Margaret Atwood's second novel and was published in 1972.  I actually have a 1972 copy of the novel.  The pages are browned and getting brittle.  Hard for someone my age to understand that 1972 was a long time ago because it doesn't feel that way to me.  But it was a long time ago.

I read Surfacing by Margaret Atwood a while back but I still remember it well.  Yes, I know, you either love or hate Atwood.  I prefer to judge on individual books and this one was exciting and stressful and very real to me.  

The main character, who remains nameless, is summoned to her home town in northern Quebec to find her missing father.  She travels with her lover and another couple.  Atwood dealt with issues of mental health, the environment and nationalism through her characters.

I think this is an excellent read.  Not an easy read.  But worth it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Edge of the Fall by Kate Williams

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The saga of the de Witt family began with The Storms of War which I reviewed a few months ago at

In The Edge of the Fall, the saga continues.  The de Witt families is broken, unable to cope with their losses and all the changes that came with the end of WWI.  It is an excellent story of love, murder, betrayal and heart break.  I highly recommend this book.

I can't wait for the next book in the series.  Spoiler alert:  the de Witts go to America.

It is International Day of the Girl Child so reviewing The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is rather appropriate today.

The author, a former ABC News reporter, spent years researching this story, traveling between Kabul, London and Washington. That is how she met Kamila Sidiqi, a young, educated Afghani woman whose life, and the lives of her sisters, was put on hold the day the Taliban siezed control of Kabul. Their father and elder brother were forced to flee to avoid arrest or conscription.

The Taliban did not allow women to work, go to school, or even leave their homes unattended. Under these conditions the family quickly went through their available resources and had to find a way to make a living that would not bring the Taliban or morality squads to their door. Kamila learned how to sew beaded dresses. With her young brother as her protection, she found customers in the markets willing to take her products. The whole family joined in the business and soon they were taking in employees and students. In this way they were able to survive.

Although I felt the writing was geared more towards a younger reader, I did enjoy reading it. I recommend The Dressmaker of Khair Khana as a good book and a chance to learn more about the Afghani women and their culture and resilience.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Knitting -- January 2016

I guess I spent most of my time scrapbooking in January . . . but I did have a couple of knitting finishes . . .

The front

The back . . . cool, eh?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Quiet Friday Night

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Good evening dear friends.
Hal made it home safe and sound and we've been snacking on cheese and grapes and relaxing in front of the television. I'm sleepy now.
It has been a fairly good day although the night before was horrible. My right hand felt like it was on fire and made it almost impossible to sleep. As a result I've tried to keep things low key today and not overdo so my hand will heal. At least the house is tidy.
I enjoyed a delicious meal at Rail City Bistro with Mom and Tim. The Italian wedding soup and Caprese salad were fabulous.
Went grocery shopping with Mom in the afternoon. I was able to pick up quite a few specials, price matches and use some bigger coupons . . . only to have the cashier (at RCSS) tell me, not once but twice, that I have too much time on my hands. Rude, or what? Oh well, I'll cry all the way to the bank with the money I save. 
Tomorrow and Sunday should be fun. Supper out with Hal. Guess where we will be going? I have to try the gnocchi and tiramisu yet. I have heard high praise for both. Even Cameron posted a review on his FB page today. Of course, if you had ever tried one of Jared's death-by-chocolate-brownies, you would understand why . . . LOL.
Sunday we'll be going to the matinee of Ned Durango at the Princess Ave. Theatre with Krissy and her parents.
I guess I better get my beauty sleep. It is going to be a busy weekend. Good night dear friends.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sketch Club and Key Lime Pie

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Good evening dear friends.

I have had a busy day today. I had to pack up all my projects, clean the apartment and help pack up Hal and send him off to work. Ran a couple of quick errands. Finished up some last minute housework and cooked a delicious supper.

And then the fun began. Sketch Club!!! I only got 1 two-page layout done tonight but I sure had fun trying. Lots of visiting and story telling going on. Key lime pie and coconut cream pie for dessert. Just an excellent evening. Thanks so much to everyone who came to play tonight.

Received an awesome gift from Deb that she found while she was in Disney. Maybe someone will take a photo of me in it tomorrow so I can share. It is sooooooooo me!

I'm going to watch a little TV, relax a bit and then hit the hay. Sorry I didn't get the recipes from yesterday posted. Hopefully I'll have a little more time tomorrow.

Good night dear friends.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Raisin Bran vs Bran Flakes

Good evening dear friends.

I spent the morning grocery shopping with Nanna. I guess she has her stamina back because we went through 3 stores this week. While we were at Freshco we enjoyed watching the kids at the new skate park.

I have given Nanna a new addiction . . . veggie chips. That was the first thing she grabbed when we walked into Freshco. And I got her to believe that Bran Flakes taste identical to Raisin Bran except it is $3 cheaper and she no longer has to pick out the raisins.

A quiet afternoon and evening at home with Hal. I actually did some cooking today . . . lunch and supper. Both recipes are excellent and I'll be posting them tomorrow if I get the chance. Tomorrow is going to be a little busy since I have to pack away some projects to make way for Sketch Club!!! Yep, we are back after our summer hiatus and I think the sketches are pretty cool.

I better get my beauty sleep. Good night dear friends.

All about dogs, Rail City Bistro, and Ned Durango

Good evening dear friends.

Well I certainly didn't break any land speed records today and yet things still got done. Took Becky Thatcher (the cat) and my niece, Jana, to Beavercreek Vets. Got to meet some beautiful big dogs while I waited in the waiting room. Now I'm not much of an animal person and for some reason that seems to be known by all dogs who proceed to attempt to earn my friendship.

This afternoon was spent working my list and continuing to binge-watch Chicago Fire. Hal finally made it home very late this afternoon. I talked him into taking a shower and putting on civilian clothes (as opposed to trucker clothes) so he could take me out for supper.

We went to Rail City Bistro AGAIN. You must be getting tired of hearing me go on and on about this little gem but it is a great place for a great meal. We have been totally spoiled and cannot accept the mediocre food served at other local restaurants. You know Hal. Hal doesn't like anything . . . especially if it is "different". Since Rail City opened he has tried and enjoyed so many different cuisines.

Tonight I was sure he was going to order from the menu and ignore the Friday-Saturday specials. He surprised me and ordered the perogies and tomato bisque. Hal does not like perogies . . . until today that is. He cleaned his plate so he got dessert . . . the special warm vanilla pudding (I can't remember the name but it is delicious). I had the cabbage rolls and a death-by-chocolate brownie for dessert.

Timothy called in a take out order of perogies, tomato bisque and pudding which we dropped off to him at work on our way home. Oooooops, I don't think I was supposed to say anything . . . bwahahahahahahaha!

You didn't make it out for their Friday-Saturday special? Sorry for your luck. Thank goodness they have so many lovely options on their regular menu. Try the tomato bisque for sure.

Tonight has been spent relaxing and binge-watching NCIS. Tomorrow is going to be busy for both of us. I'm grocery shopping with Nanna and Hal is going out for breakfast, running errands, and doing the body work on Snow. Busy. Busy. Busy.

Do you have tickets for Ned Durango at the Princess Ave. Playhouse yet?

Good night dear friends.