Another month of books is "in the books" so to speak. All in all this was a pretty good month! I really enjoyed the Jane Harper books and have another on my library wish list. I also enjoyed Westering Women and If You Want to Make God Laugh. Those are my favorite fiction books. I also really enjoyed both of the non-fiction books this month.
What have you been reading? I get some great recommendations from you. In fact, Westering Women was one of them.
By Jane Harper, Read By Steve Shanahan
Sometimes when I finish a book and don't have anything ready from the library I'll go through Libby and look through what's available. I have to scroll through a lot of James Patterson, Lee Child and David Baldacci but eventually I find something new. That's how I found this book and the next one. I didn't realize until I started listening to the next book that I had picked 2 books from the same author! Good thing I liked both of them.
The Dry is the 1st book in a series based on federal agent Aaron Falk. I didn't even know that it was a series until I started writing this review and downloaded the image from Audible.
Twenty years ago Falk was accused of murder and his friend, Luke, provided the alibi. Now Luke is dead and Falk is summoned to return home. Falk reluctantly agrees to help investigate what happened to Luke but while here's there the old murder suspicions surface.
The Lost Man
By Jane Harper, Read By Steve Shanahan
This one is not part of the Aaron Falk series. It's a stand-alone novel.
Two brothers are on family land standing over the body of their dead brother, Cam, the middle child. Cam has been in charge of the homestead since their father's death. Cam knows how to be prepared for the hot and dry climate of the Australian outback. How could he have gotten here without supplies?
This isn't so much of a mystery as a book about the complexities of family relationships, especially when abuse is involved. I wouldn't say that it ended as a happy book but the characters got some resolution and growth so I'd say that it ended on a hopeful note.
Loved the Aussie narrator for both books!
A Long Petal of the Sea
By Isabel Allende, Read by Eduardo Ballerini
In the late 1930's General Franco overthrew the Spanish government and brought in his Fascist regime. Many people were forced to flee. This is the fictional story of Roser and Victor who first fled to France and then on to Chili. The book tells the stories of their lives until their deaths many decades later.
I should have loved this book. It's historical fiction and the story of a long life among many generations. But in the end, I just didn't. I finished it but only because I forced myself to. I just could not connect with these characters. They were like cardboard characters moving through a diorama.
The book has rave reviews on Audible so it's really possible that I don't know what I'm talking about and you might love it.
Light It Up
By Nick Petrie, Read By Stephen Mendel
This is the 3rd book in the Peter Ash series that I started last month. My library seems to have them available quickly and I think it's because once people start listening they can't stop.
Peter Ash is a good guy who is badly damaged from his experiences in Iraq. As this book opens he is rebuilding hiking trails on Oregon when he friend as him to help with a job for his daughter. The daughter runs a security firm that supports the marijuana business. He asks Peter to help on a cash run when they are ambushed and his friend ends up dead.
Another good one!
By Philippa Gregory, Read By Louise Brealey
This is the first in The Fairmile series and is set in the mid-1600's during England's Civil War. It's not a war story, it's more of a family saga story centering around Alinor and her two children. She's been abandoned by her husband and lives a day-to-day existence selling herbs, oils and as a midwife. One day meets James, a young man sneaking into the area . She helps him and things change drastically for her family.
I've not read one of Philippa Gregory's novels before. It reminded me a lot of John Jakes novels. It was a little dark and sad at times but I couldn't put it down so it must have been good!
By Atul Gawande, Read By Robert Petkoff
Atul Gawande is a physician and through this book he explores the ways that medicine, families and individuals handle end of life choices. One of the examples that he uses in the book is his own father's illness and end of life choices.
It is not a depressing book but it is an important book. We spend a lot of time thinking about what we are going to wear every day but we spend very little time thinking about how we want to die. It's guaranteed that we are going to die and this book is a guide to help understand options and to give people the confidence to make their own decisions.
The Last Widow
By Karin Slaughter, Read By Kathleen Earley
This is #9 in the Will Trent series and if I had taken 1 minute to check my book review spreadsheet I would have avoided this hackneyed storyline.
Will and Sara are still in some sort of weird relationship state more typical of teenagers, Will's boss still treats him more like a mother than a boss and Will is still emotionally damaged but somehow the three of them are able to solve a major crime.
The plot is trite and tired. Inspired by the Charlottesville riots, the story features a white supremacist sect determined to "fix" America. We've done enough Timothy McVey-inspired fiction. It's time to do something a tad bit more creative.
By Sandra Dallas, read By Angela Dawe
Well, if you need a book to make you grateful that you life in modern times, this is it! Ste in 1952 44 women set off on the Overland Trail with the promise of finding husbands in Goosetown, CA. The book is about the harrowing journey, the friendships and the secrets that are uncovered on the journey.
Another blogger recommended this book and I'm glad I gave it a try.
The First Conspiracy
By Brad Meltzer, Read By Scott Brick
I haven't read a Brad Meltzer book in about 10 years but this one popped up in the library and seemed interesting. I'm glad I found it!
It's all about a treasonous plot to kill George Washington during the Revolutionary War. It's got everything that a good spy novel would have except that it's not a novel.
People of the Book
by Geraldine Brooks, Read By Edwina Wren
This is the second book that I've read from Geraldine Brooks. The main character is Hannah Heath, an Australian rare books expert. The Australian part is important because the narrator works very hard to get the Australian (and all other accents) almost to the point of distraction. I've never listened to a book where I felt the narrator worked sooooooo hard!
Anyway, Hannah is asked to conserve the Sarajevo Haggadah which was recently rescued from the Bosnian War (1996). Hannah discovers little fragments of things in the book (insect wing, salt, stains, hair) and that is the basis for telling the history of the book. There's lots of back and forth in time and LOTS of characters.
I think, all in all, it's a good story but it was a lot of work to keep up and Hannah and her mother have a ton of baggage that I'm not sure was necessary.
The White Queen
By Philippa Gregory, Read By Susan Lyons
This is the first in the Plantagenet and Tudor series and tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen to King Edward IV. The time period is during the War of the Roses.
Gregory's work is extremely well researched and she's clear in the interview at the end where she took literary license. She ahd lots of opportunity because the life of Elizabeth isn't well documents and there's no information in what happened to their two sons (heirs to the throne). It was a fun read although at the end Elizabeth's laments got a little tedious. But I felt that the ending was certainly plausible and it sets up well for The White Princess. #5 in the series. Books 2, 3 and 4 are about her mother and other contemporaries. Book 5 is about her daughter.
If You Want To make God Laugh
By Bianca Marais, Read By Bianca Amato, Bhani Turpin and Katherine McEwan
17 year old Zodwa live in poverty on South Africa.She is raped and becomes pregnant.
Across town, two sisters, Ruth and Delilah, are reunited at the homestead after years of being estranged. Zodwa's grandmother used to work for Ruth and Delilah's parents.
After the baby is born, Zodwa's grandmother steals the baby and drops it at the home of Ruth and Delilah thinking that the baby will have a better chance at life. Two days later the grandmother is dead and Zodwa thinks she will never see her baby again.
First, there is nothing in the book to make God laugh so I have no idea where the title came from. But it's a good story about life's decisions, circumstances and consequences. All of the characters deal with conflict, despair, forgiveness and hope.
It was a good book to end the month on.
But let's start with the hiking report. Yesterday we hiked Pemetic Mountain and it was quite a workout! This is part of the trail on one side. Lots of steep scrambling but a lot of fun.
It was worth it for a lot of spectacular views all along the trail. We were both pretty exhausted (in a good way) after that. Today was a quieter day. I kayaked in the morning and then ran some errands, even visiting 2 quilt shops. In the end I didn't buy anything but thread but it was fun to visit fabric.
Two people asked on the last post about the yoga app that I use. I've tried several yoga and exercise apps and my current favorites are Down Dog and HIIT, both by Yoga Buddhi Co. I use the HIIT app most often but do occasionally use the yoga app. There are good options for types, duration and skill level and you can choose the voice and music. I like the Aussie guy for yoga and I don't like any music background. They are paid apps but I think you get a trial of 5 workouts of something like that and when they introduced the HIIT app you actually got both for one price. I absolutely love the HIIT app. The workout can be as hard as you want it and it's really helped me build strength and stamina. They have other apps for prenatal, barre and beginners.
Between hikes, paddles, eating and relaxing I've kept going on the veterans quilt tops. These last 2 rail fence tops went together fast. I finished this one yesterday.
...and I finished this one today. These will look even better with my stars and ribbons pantograph.
Here are all 5 together. I'm really pleased.
Tomorrow we expect rain. There's a remote possibility that we get in a short hike early but otherwise it will by a sewing day. That would be just awful, wouldn't it?
My next project is to start in the big Mardi Gras star quilt. That one is going to be for me!
Today turned out to be really windy and cold (by my standards). It would have been a great hiking day but Chris was away on a fishing trip. We have a big 5 mile hike planned for tomorrow. Cool and windy would be perfect for that.
All that to say that I didn't kayak today. Instead I did a yoga routine from my yoga app and did lots of sewing. This is the 3rd veterans quilt top. In hindsight I wish I had pieced it by rows instead of blocks. I've got TONS of twisted seams. It's just the kind of quilt that pantographs are made for!
Next up is 2 rail fence quilt tops. These should go really fast!
I officially started the new baby blanket today. They always look like such disasters for the first few rows. Doing the swatch made me confident that this one will turn out really pretty. I'll keep going!
We had a good rainstorm last night with lots of lightening that gave us this rainbow at the end.
Great way to end the day yesterday!
Our friend left today as we decided that it would be a good day to rest although I did eventually take a long walk just in the neighborhood. I decided to get the computer out for this post. I'll use the mobile app but it's really crap. Hopefully my spelling is better on this post.
I've been working on this blanket a little each day and now it's done! The yarn is Lion Brand Mandala in color Narnia and I used 2 balls. It's the second blanket I've made in this color. I used the crochet blanket stitch and I think I chained 115 stitches. Next time I'd make it a little bit narrower, maybe something in the 90's.
I'm making good progress on the flying geese veterans quilt. All the blocks are done and I expect to have it finished tomorrow. Chris will be gone all day tomorrow on a fishing trip so after a long kayak in the lake I'll have the day to myself to finish this and maybe start the last set of veterans quilts. They are very simple rail fence blocks.
I also started a swatch for my next baby blanket. I'm trying to decide on the best hook size. The pattern is this one from Daisy Farm Crafts. I do love that website. The patterns are accurate and clear and the videos are excellent. I think working with this yarn is going to be interesting.
So we made it to beautiful Acadia Friday evening. This truly is my happy place. The weather is lovely with highs in the mid-70s.
My sewing space is all set up. We have a friend visiting through tomorrow so I haven't done a ton of sewing. If you are familiar with Acadia, we've hiked Norumbega, Flying Mountain/Valley Peak/St Sauveur. Chris and Dave hiked Beehive yesterday while I kayaked the lake. I don't do ladder trails. We're conditioning ourselves for Cadillac next Wednesday.
I was originally planning to make the block on the left but when I started seeing the first one together I decided it was too complex for vacation sewing. I'm now doing the one on the right. It's pretty mindless.
So far the only casualty of the trip are these glasses, my favorite glasses! They are not repairable but this tape should hold until my friend gets here with my spare pair this weekend.
Oh, the crochet bkanket is almost done!
Before I get into today's update I want to answer Becky's comment. I don't have the ability to reply by email to comments because my blog app doesn't show me email addresses. Really annoying.
Amyway, Becky, the panel for the eagle quilt is On Freedoms Wings by Northcott.
The crochet is coming along. It's a nice thing to do on chilly mornings.
It was pretty breezy yesterday so I didn't get out on the kayak until the afternoon. Almost as soon as I returned we had a downpour. But it finished in time for us to have cocktail hour in our floats tied to the dock: full on redneck mode!
In between I made good progress on the next pair of quilts. I'll start sewing blocks together today.
Tomorrow we head over to Acadia.
Another day in paradise!
Actually it rained all day yesterday but we makers don't mind that. I got started on the next pair of veterans quilts and made some great progress. I only have 6 sheets of triangles left to stitch and I've already started cutting and pressing.
I made some more crochet progress while I've been waiting for the weather to warm up today. This little blanket will be done soon.
It's 67 now so I'm off to paddle around the lake for a bit.
My first project is done! I usually avoid panels but I don't mind these digitally printed panels because there are options for trimmed size. I really loved this one even without noticing that the mountain was a flag! Chris noticed it yesterday. It isn't obvious up close but it's really clear in the photo. The narrow border fabric is from a coordinating print.
I'm really happy with the way it turned out.
It turned out so nice that I'm glad that I made 2 of them!
Next up is this project. It will take a little longer but it will also make 2 quilts.
There will be lots of time for sewing and crochet today because it's a rainy day. The next week should be beautiful so I can take a rainy day.
For Debbie, the yarn is Mandala in the collorway Narnia.
We made it to Maine!
Posts from Maine are going to be short on words! The Weebly app blog interface is a little clunky. It even turns off my phone autofill and autocorrect so I'll apologize now for the increase in spelling errors!
This will be the view fron my temporary sewing room at the dining table. But we'll get the kayaks out first and explore the lake.
Looking forward to a few evenings of this!
Yesterday was mostly about shopping and packing and today will be more of the same. But in the evenings this week I have had some crochet time.
I'm halfway through this project. It's the blanket stitch using Lion Brand Mandala yarn, 2 balls. That little bit of white is left over from a previous project so I just tied it on here in the middle to use it up. I obviously won't finish this before I go so I'll take it to work on and finish up while we are away.
I got the car project started. You can't really see the holes created by the filet crochet stitch but, trust me, they are there. It's not going to be the prettiest blanket ever but it will look better as it gets bigger. All that matters is that I have something to do for the 16 hours in the car over the next 2 days and this will be perfect. I've not used this yarn before but it's really easy to crochet and it's quite soft.
I'm so excited that I've learned to do foundation double crochet! My chain row is always too tight so being able to to a foundation row of stitches really helps.
I've downloaded my blog app to my phone so I'm going to try to post at least a photo each day while we're away. If all goes well there will be a lot of sewing progress. Now I'm off to start playing Trunk Tetris with the packing.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.