My August reading was totally focused on finding good vacation books so the list might seem a little different than usual. The result is a mixed bag. My favorites are Those Who Wish Me Dead and The Rachel Project. My least favorite was Life On The Edge because it was way over my head.
Gideon's Sword by Preston and Child - I loved the Pendergast series until Cold Vengeance. They made that book a "half book" by continuing it to another book to be published a year later. It annoyed me so much that I haven't read anything else from them. I thought it might be time to try again and selected this series. It's flat out awful.
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese - I stuck with it for about 15 hours and just had to quilt. There's no way that Oprah read and liked this book. This is the second Verghese book that I've quilt on. I won't try a third. They are both just dull and a drudgery to read.
What are the best books that you read this month?
By Kate Morton, Read By Clare Foy
I saved this book specifically for my 2-day trip to Maine and it kept me good company for the drive.
It's 2018 and Jess is called home to Australia from London because her beloved Grandmother, Nora, is sick and in hospital. Jess was mostly raised by her Grandmother because her mother, Polly, was quite absent as she was growing up.
At Nora's home Jess discovers a decades old true crime book that tells the story of a murder-suicide on Christmas Eve 1959. The victims were Nora's sister-in-law, nieces and nephew.
In typical Kate Morton style, the story moves back and forth in time revealing the crime, activities leading up to the crime and Nora's actions afterward as Jess is making discoveries of her own in current time.
It's probably not the best Kate Morton book but the character development is good, the story is good and I enjoyed my drive much more because I had this to listen to.
The narrator gets a lot of criticism on the Audible app but I thought she did a fine job. I had no complaints.
By Emily Henry, Read By Julia Whelan
If you like romance books that are like the Hallmark Channel but with spice then this is the book for you. It's not particularly my genre but this one has gotten a lot of press and I needed a palette cleanser after The Covenant of Water disappointment.
Books have defined Nora Stephen's life in every possible way from the most important memories of her late mother to her current job as a book agent. She's also dedicated her life to looking out for her younger sister who is now a mother of 2, soon to be 3. Before the baby is born, Libby wants Nora to take a month-long trip to Sunshine Fall, NC, the setting for Libby's favorite romance novel by one of Nora's authors.
Nora is surprised to run into one of her publishing rivals, Charlie Lastra, in this small town. Sparks fly as they are thrown together many times over the weeks ahead.
You know the rest. It's a cute book and was fine entertainment for 2 days.
By R. F. Kuang, Read By Helen Laser
June Hayward and Athena Lui were classmates at Yale and both aspiring authors. At the opening of the story Athena has made it big and June is still struggling to get her writing career off the ground. One night, while having dinner, Athena chokes and dies. June steals her most recent manuscript and publishes it as her own work.
It's not long before people are accusing her of stealing the work, at worst, and cultural appropriation, at the least.
It is not "chilling and hilariously cutting" as described by the publishers summary. It's a sad commentary on our current societal mores. June is not the only "thief" in this tale. As we see every day in the real world, anyone jealous of someone else's success can degrade others with accusations of cultural appropriation, racism, or any other aggression. What I found interesting in the reviews is the general complaint about June is that she's racist. I didn't see her as racist at all. What I saw was a lazy writer with moderate talent who became a thief as soon as the opportunity presented itself. Her stealing that manuscript had nothing to do with racism and everything to do with her general bad character and opportunity. But in today's society everything is racist which, I believe, makes nothing racist. We need to be less lazy in our own criticisms of people. Thieves are thieves, Liars are liars, and racists are racists. Everyone is not racists just because you are offended.
The other aspect of the story is commentary on the publishing world where a small group of people pick the winners and losers and decide what we will be allowed to read. I didn't find any of that surprising or insightful. It's no different from the news, entertainment and music industries. I found the storyline from this aspect to be kind of repetitive and dull.
I didn't particularly enjoy the book but I can see that it would create some very interesting discussions in a book club meeting.
Life on the Edge
By Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili
I like reading non-fiction on vacation for some reason but I may have stepped too far off the edge with this one. The basic premise of this book is to show how quantum mechanics applies to biology. I've read a few books on quantum mechanics and I understand it a little and I think I pick up a little more with each book. But I'll never be conversant in the topic.
This book started out interesting for me as they discussed how certain processes can be expressed in terms of quantum mechanics. These include the internal magnetic compasses of migrating birds, photosynthesis in plants, sense of smell and the enzyme processes of the body. I was pretty good through all of that.
The rest of the book heads off into wild speculations about quantum mechanics and the mutations in genetic code, origins of life, definition of consciousness.
In the end, it got way too complex for me to follow.
Those Who Wish Me Dead
By Michael Koryta
I didn't listen to this book, I actually read it and did it in 2 days.
Jace Wilson is a teenager playing around in quarry and when he dives into the water he discovers a dead body. As he's getting out of the water 2 mens show up with another man, slice his throat and dump him in the quarry too. They see Jace's clothes and realize they have a witness.
The killers will now do anything to get to Jace and prevent him from testifying against them. Jace and his family do not trust the cops so they agree to put Jace in a wilderness program in Montana. They are depending on Ethan and Allison Serbin to protect Jace.
It's not long before they realize where Jace is and the chase begins.
Koryta writes good stories. Lots of action and there were a couple of twists in this one that I did not see coming. It was a fun read.
The Rachel Incident
By Caroline O'Donoghue, Read by Tara Flynn
Rachel is a university student and James is her new co-worker at the local bookstore. They decide to become roommates and, immediately, fast friends.
Rachel has developed a crush for her married professor, Dr. Byrne. Byrne has written a new book and Rachel and James orchestrate a reading at the bookstore as a ruse to throws Rachel into his path. But Dr. Byrne has other desires.
That incident leads to a lot of secrets, compromises and long term effects that play out in the rest of the story. It's all about the inevitable messiness of living a life. It was a good story.
The Lucky Ones
By Mark Edwards, Read By Simon Mattacks
It's been a few years since I read a Mark Edwards book and I really need to have him in my rotation more often. He creates some really interesting characters!
Detective Imogen Evans is called to a murder. The victim, a recent heart transplant recipient and successful antiques dealer is killed just when she is at her happiest. She even dies with a smile on her face. Evans knows she has a serial killer on her hands.
Nearby, Ben Holland's life is finally straightening out. He and his son moved back to his home town to distance himself from his cheating wife and to be near his dying mother. It's been hard to get back on his feet but suddenly things are looking up.
Fast paced, good character development and a couple of twists. Everything you need from a good murder mystery.
Everything I Learned From Falling
By Claire Nelson
I read this one in hardback as a vacation read. Claire Nelson was hiking in Joshua Tree National Park when she fell and shattered her pelvis. She was off the trail and she wasn't sure if anyone would realize she was missing. She spent 3 nights in the desert and this is her survival story.
It was pretty interesting. One thing we've noticed when hiking that almost all of the solo hikers are women. Honestly, it's just plain stupid to hike alone but even dumber to not tell people when/where you are going and not leave a note on your car about when you left and where you went.
The Lager Queen of Minnesota
By J. Ryan Stradal, Read By Judith Ivey
This is one quirky and fun story. I don't' know how I found it because it's not something I would usually read. But it was a fun light vacation read and the narrator nailed the Minnesota accent.
Two sisters are emotionally separated when their father leaves the proceeds from the family farm to the younger sister, Helen, to help her start a brewery. The older sister, Edith is an award-winning baker but she and her husband struggle to make a living. When Edith's daughter and son-in-law die in a car crash, she takes in her Granddaughter, Diana. Diana eventually earns a shot at brewing an IPA. Will beer bring the family back together?
It's a fun story about family and beer. There's a lot of information about beer, which I didn't mind at all. The characters are likable and the story is told in a nice mid-western manner. It's a fun read.
I don't have a lot to show for yesterday but that doesn't mean it was a bad day! Bill and Laurie had never hiked Beech Mountain so we hiked it with them yesterday. It's no officially our most-hiked mountain. It's a really good hike because it's not too long, had a lot of variety and has a few different trails that you can take. This time the trail that overlooks Long Pond was open so we got a view of the house where we stay. YOu can see that the weather wasn't great. It was forecast to be cloudy all day but it cleared up around 11 and was beautiful until about 4.
After lunch we picked up my newly-repaired car and I just drove around for about an hour, well, just because I could! The horrible noise is gone and the car handles much better. I had not even noticed the handling "problem". It wasn't that bad. But the noise was awful. Now my drive home will be more pleasant.
My body is a little sore from the hikes so today I'm glad that it's raining. For once the forecast was right! I've sewn the corners on all the blocks that I got cut out and will probably get them cut apart. I think I'll spend the rest of my time working on the crochet baby blanket. I have quite a lot more blue blocks to cut out when I get home.
We'll head into Bar Harbor the the mandatory shopping expedition so I can get a toy for my brother's annoying-but-cute little dog.
This may be my past postcard from vacation. We will get in another hike tomorrow before we had home Friday. I'll have book reviews tomorrow and next week will be giveaway week!
If you ever visit Maine do not pay any attention to the weather forecasts. Today was another absolutely perfect day. It was 73 and sunny. The day started with no wind at all so Laurie hit the kayaks first thing.
After an hour on the pond we headed in for breakfast and then headed to Schoodic Point. I have photos of that at the end of the post.
I actually got some sewing time in the afternoon and got the corners stitched on about 40 block sets. Then we dropped my car off for today's repair appointment.
In the evening I got another round done on each side of my sweater. This is all I can do on this project until I get home. I need to compare it to my finished blue one to get the sizing right. I'll work on the baby blanket for the few days left in the trip.
My favorite place to sit and ponder in Acadia is Schoodic Point. It's north of the park near Winter Harbor, ME. It's a vast area of rock with incredible views. Following are a few more photos that I too yesterday.
Today it really is going to be cloudy all day. We plan to hike Beech Mountain again because Bill and Laurie have never hiked it and we want something less strenuous than Pemetic. Then they are going to kayak in Some Sound in the afternoon. I think I'm going to listen to my book and sew until my car is ready and then I'll do a little shopping in Southwest Harbor.
Tomorrow is going to be rain so we plan to head into Bar Harbor just like all the tourists do on a rainy day.
Saturday we woke to this view and, frankly, had low expectations for the weather that day. The forecast was for clouds and some rain showers.
Bill and Laurie were schedule to arrive in the afternoon with the rain so we decided to get in a little paddling while we could. Chris fished and I kayaked around for about an hour.
I checked out one of my favorite areas with lots of grasses. I love paddling around in here and the sound of the grasses on the hull.
Around in another cove I found this little Mallard family.
After we came in we were surprised by clearing clouds and bright sun. We headed straight for the lake for some floating and sunning. The day turned absolutely beautiful and out friends, Bill and Laurie, arrived around 3. They are college friends of Chris' so I'm vastly outnumbered by Wahoos.
We did get some rain around dinner time and then had the most spectacular rainbow! You can see a very faint second one to the right.
It was a good ending to a good day.
In the afternoon Saturday I got another set of blocks marked for sewing and started some stitching on Sunday.
Yesterday was another day that was forecast to be cloudy with rain showers. Wrong again!
We got out early to get a parking space at Jordan Pond so we could hike Pemetic Mountain. It's probably my favorite hike in the park. It's about 4 miles with lots of steep climbs and a steep descent over a rock slide but it ends with a nice gentle walk around beautiful Jordan Pond. The work of the hike is worth it for this view.
There's an interesting section of the hike where you are give a choice of paths.
This is part of the ravine. It was very wet from all of the recent rain.
We took the ledge which was challenge enough for us.
Today Chris and Bill have a charter fishing trip and Laurie and I may go kayaking and then drive over to Schoodic Point.
Tomorrow I get my car fixed! Yay!
Don't forget about the giveaways starting next week!
I didn't post yesterday because Thursday was our last full day with our friends before we took them to Bangor Friday morning. I'm writing this Friday night after a day of wind and heavy rain. We had a high of 66. It was an afternoon to unwind, do laundry and organize all of my projects. First, I'll catch up on the ongoing projects and then I'll tell you about our wonderful Thursday hike.
Oh, for anyone interested, Ian won the Cribbage tournament 9 - 8. He started out with a wide lead and we were tied before the last night but the cards just were not in my favor.
I don't like riding in a car with nothing to do, so I started a new donation chemo hat on the ride to and from Bangor.
The abay blanket seems to be the thing I most want to work on so I've made the most progress on it. I will do one more set of rows in the three colors and I think I'll finish off with a final row of the dark blue before I add the border. I love how it's looking and I've got plenty of time to finish it before the baby shower in late October.
I think I only have a couple more rounds on the sweater before I'm ready to sew the shoulders and add the cuffs. I've finished 1 ball of yarn on each side and started the second.
I finally pressed the last set of blocks and took the time to lay them out the way they would look in the quilt. I'm loving it so far. I started maring the rest of the blocks that are cut out and I know I'll need to cut more but I will likely not get to that in the trip. We have more friends coming in today to spend the last week with us and I hope to get in lots of hiking if the weather permits.
Chris, Ian and I had a great hike on Thursday to Gilmore Peak. I keep a map marked with all the trails we have hiked and we have just about done all of the park that we can do. I will not hike trails with ledges and rungs. I'm old and not stupid. As Kevin Hart now says "respect the age".
From Gilmore we can see Bald Peak on the left and Parkman on the right. We have hiked both of those before. We came up a new-to-us trail called Maple Spring and we came down between Gilmore and Bald. It was an amazing hike for all of the different terrain. We were told by other hikers that Maple Spring had been closed for several years for maintenance and we could see the evidence. It's clearly still being built but it was perfectly fine for hiking for us.
I have lots of photos below to show all the different trail surfaces on this hike. If you aren't interested just skip the rest of this post because that's all that's left.
We started out immediately in roots and rocks. They had to clear some fallen trees in this section.
Chris' least favorite trail surface is roots. He calls these ankle-breaker trails. I don't mind this as much as he does. Between the roots the surface is very soft.
This shows how much work they have been doing on the trail. They put in those granite steps several places along the trail and I can't even imagine how long that takes to do! There was an area along the trail where they were building wood bridges and granite steps. They left all of their tools and rigging right where they had been working. I suppose there's not much risk of someone trying to cart off a shovel while hiking these rough surfaces.
This is the Hemlock Bridge and you can see beyond it where they are building a wood pedestrian bridge on the trail.
The new trail isn't even totally marked yet so they have hung these blue streamers in the trees as temporary markers. In this section the trail goes up the left side and crosses right where the blue streamers are to go up the right side. The trails crosses back and forth over the stream several times to the peak. It wa a lot of fun to hike this one.
This is a great example of the stairs that they have put in place in some sections. Note that Ian is wearing the backpack that I made for him and he seemed to really like it. Where he is standing in this photo is where I was standing for the next one.
I'm standing where Ian was in the previous photo looking down over the stream and a pool. There were several really lovely spots like this all along this trail.
Right near the peak a rock smiled at me to tell me I was almost there!
The way down was much gentler and had some very different terrain including this beautiful mossy area and a bit of mud.
All in all, it was a wonderful 3 hours. We came home and spent the afternoon floating in the lake and sunning on the porch. It was a perfect last day with Ian and Laura.
Today, new friends (Bill and Laurie) will come to stay with us for the rest of our time here. I'm also looking forward to Tuesday when I get my car fixed!
There was nothing crafty done yesterday. It was a beautiful outside day and we took full advantage.
Ian and I got a start by heading out early to kayak the length of Long Pond. It was about a 2 and a quarter hour round trip keeping a pretty steady pace. As we headed out this was my view. It was about 8 am and the pond was like glass.
We weren't along on the pond.
Chris took this photo of us from the deck. I'm the right speck.
About half way down I got this great mirror image.
By the time we got to the end a breeze had started and we had a few ripples in the water. This was our view when we started back.
Chris got this photo of us heading back in. I'm the one with the straight wake. I'm not sure where Ian was going but I was on a mission to get to my breakfast.
After breakfast I relaxed on the porch in the sun and watched the hummingbird feeder.
The afternoon was filled with sunning, floating, reading and lobster for dinner. A perfect vacation day.
Today we have a nice long hike planned and then maybe I'll do some sewing. Ian and Laura leave Friday.
I didn't post yesterday simply because I didn't have the energy. We had an absolutely fabulously day Monday but things made a turn right after dinner when Anne got a call about her dog, Ginger. Ginger is one of my favorite dogs of all time.
She died suddenly and unexpectedly Monday night. Anne flew home Tuesday morning to be with her family. Ginger was one of the sweetest dogs I've ever known and I'll miss her. RIP sweet Ginger.
The weather has been really beautiful the past 2 days and we had lots of indoor and outdoor activities. I'll start with the indoor.
Laura made this baby quilt top for her niece's new baby. She used Mary Quilts' Quick Strippie. It's a great go-to pattern for baby quilts.
Here's a closeup of the fabrics she used. We were in another fabric store yesterday and she found the perfect Minkie-type fabric for the backing.
Anne is working on a mandala applique quilt called Harmony. I can't find the pattern but, trust me, it's going to be stunning.
She travels with the pieces to glue the edges down to prep for the applique.
I even sewed more blocks. I'll get a count once I have them ironed.
Monday started off with me, Chris and Ian taking a hike on Beech Mountain. We love this trail. It's never busy because it's not in the main part of the park. It's the closest trails to the place where we stay. (I almost said it's the closest to "our house". LOL), it's not too long, has good viewing points and has a little of every type of terrain. It's our go-to "first hike" trail.
I love these bare granite slab sections. This exists throughout the park. This one was one of the steep areas and there were other areas with granite steps and others with large rocks to scramble over.
There are some easy sections.
Some big granite slabs.
There are areas where you can see that someone did a lot of work to move big granite slabs in place to be steps and bridges. You have to admit, that's a pretty fancy bridge! I can't imagine how they move these slabs through the woods and up the trails.
Sometimes the granite can't be moved and the trail has to go around.
In some sections we walk beneath giant rock walls and ledges and occasionally see a rock that may fall at any time.
We spotted this interesting little plant that we have never seen before. I assume that it's some sort of fungi but I don't really know.
At the top we were rewarded with this beautiful view over Southwest Harbor.
In the afternoon Chris and Anne floated while I waited for the car repair place to call me and tell me I need TWO wheel bearings replaced. I'm so glad I was able to get it to a shop and get the repair scheduled before we return home. It was getting louder as the time went on. Most shops up here have a minimum two week wait for repairs. It's also fortunate that we have 2 cars here!
These chair floats are the best! Ian, Laura, Chris and I floated again today for about 2 hours. It was glorious.
I seem to be really popular with the dragonflies. Monday they were hanging out with me on the dock and yesterday I had at least a dozen of them land on me while I was out in the water. One even brought it's dinner and used me as a dining table. It was kind of gross and fascinating at the same time.
Just before dinner Monday night, Anne and I took a nice kayak paddle around part of the pond. It was a beautiful evening and then it all went to hell after dinner.
Yesterday after Anne left we were all a little morose. We took a 3 mile walk in the neighborhood and spent the rest of the day reading and floating. The night was clear so we went to the dock around 10 to see the Milky Way.
Today Ian and I plan to kayak the length of the pond and tomorrow we will probably get back on the trails.
First I have some news! When I get back from vacation, Mom and I will be organizing her move. She's done a ton already but we will still have to get her internet set up and take care of any other details in prep for the move on the 7th. I've decided not to stress about the blog or shop that week and, instead, will have a week of giveaways! I've got all the packages lined up and ready to go so get yourself ready for 6 days of giveaways coming soon!
Back in Maine, I've yet to turn on the sewing machine but I did add 8 more rows to the baby blanket. 8 rows in an evening seems to be about my best rate and it will be done in plenty of time for the shower in October.
Yesterday we had a pretty warm day with a mix of clouds and sun. I took a day off from hiking so Anne and I got out on the lake to do some kayaking. It was a little breezy but in certain areas there weren't many waves.
We headed into one of my favorite areas of the lake where it outflows toward Somes Sound. There's a series of fish ladders from Somes Sound and into Long Pond. One of those ladder systems is here.
This part of the lake is full of Water Lilies.
This was the first time that I've ever seen this plant in bloom in Long Pond. I'm sure it's been there before but I've never noticed or seen it. I did some searching and found out that it's called Pickerel Weed.
If the forecast holds, today is supposed to be beautiful. We're going to take a short hike this morning to test out my toe issue and, after I get my car fixed, we hope to spend the afternoon floating in the lake.
We left Greenville, ME Friday morning with this view and it rained the whole 3 hour drive to Mount Desert Island.
We spent the afternoon in Bar Harbor while we waited for the house to be ready and we arrived to this view. Let's be honest, it's still a pretty spectacular view even on a gloomy day! the day wasn't a loss because we had lobster for dinner.
We woke yesterday morning to this view. Now we're talking!
Everyone's mood lightened instantly and we quickly planned and set out on our first hike. We usually do a "warm up" hike and this time was no different. We started in Thuya Gardens and hiked through to reach a carriage trail that went around and over the Amphitheater trail. It was about 6 miles but almost all on smooth surfaces. It was just what we needed. Here are a few photos from the day.
Thuya Gardens is not officially part of Acadia National Park but is adjacent and connected through trails. If you are ever visiting Acadia try to visit Atiscou and Thuya Gardens. It's a beautifully maintained property with lovely gardens.
The trail we took has some pretty mossy areas and you can get a glimpse, on the left, of how well manicured the trail is.
There are miles and miles of carriage trails in Acadia. They were developed in the late 1800's by the barons of industry (Rockefellers, Fords, Vanderbilts, Morgans, etc). This is where they chose to summer and the developed these carriage trails so they could travel to the tops of the mountains and enjoy the beautiful views. Now they are used by hikers, cyclists, runners and horse drawn carriages. Most are many miles long so they are good for a long, relatively easy, walk. They aren't flat so there's a lot of up and down hiking to keep the blood flowing. I love that they are mostly all lined with granite blocks. Besides timber, cod and lobster, granite mining was a major industry here.
Even the park bridges are made from granite. This is a small one.
This is one of the large ones, the Amphitheater Bridge. We hiked under this bridge on the Amphitheater Trail last year and it was one of our favorite hikes.
Yesterday afternoon we started getting more settled in and I got my sewing corner set up. I love the view from my sewing room at home but it pales compared to this one.
Before we left Greenville I got close to 60 more block corners sewn along with the offcut mini HSTs. I'm ready to start sewing these into blocks.
I have about 80 blocks cut out and once they are sewn I'll need to do some math and see how many more I need. I'm out of light fabric so I might go shop for some light blue batiks to finish off the blocks. I don't think anyone would notice batiks mixed in as long as they are mottled and not printed.
On the crochet front, I finished these two hats for donation. I had a skein of this dark green yarn that I wanted to use up and a pattern I wanted to try out. It's the Crochet Baby James Beanie and it comes is all sizes. I like working a hat in this way and will use this pattern again.
Laura finished the second veterans quilt top Thursday night before we left Greenville.
She's now moved on to knitting. This is a sweater project that she started in May, the last time she visited the US and it will be her US project until she finishes. She wanted to cover a mistake for the photo.
That's about all from here. I'm hoping for kayaking weather today. It was way to breezy for that yesterday. I have a toe injury (long story about me being a klutz) that I keep reigniting so I will take today off from hiking or even walking much. Plus my friend, Anne, has arrived and we'll plan something that she wants to do. The boys will get to take one of their hard hikes today. I won't go on hikes with cliffs or rungs to climb.
Today is our last day in Greenville. Tomorrow morning we will head to Acadia for our last 2 weeks.
Yesterday we each went for our own exercise in the morning and then Laura and I visited The Crazy Moose for Laura to get some fabric for a new baby quilt.
I haven't made a stitch in 2 days and that's because I've been reading. This is why I listen to my fiction instead of reading it. Once I start a book I can't put it down. Ian and Laura brought this one with them and I picked it up Tuesday. I've finished it now so I might actually sew a little bit today.
I chose to kayak yesterday morning. It was a little overcast but there was no wind and it was a lovely day on the pond.
The water here is so clear!
I saw a couple of Common Mergansers while I was out. They didn't appreciate me being in their area so I didn't stick around.
I found another tree that has successfully rooted on rock. This one has been particularly successful!
I probably won't post again until Saturday. We'll be packing up tonight and traveling/unpacking tomorrow.
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In Bloglovin you need to search "Colorways By Vicki Welsh" to find the blog.
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.