October 28, 2015

Immersed in series

I can't believe it's October... that Halloween is this weekend is even scarier. I never posted the books I read/listened to this summer, and fall is halfway gone... I'll start with my favorites, but I haven't read/listened to anything I wouldn't recommend.

I can't remember how I found Reluctant Concubine by Dana Marton, only that I read the first chapter and had to buy it. I was expecting a romance, but this turned out to be a wonderful, engaging fantasy. Plus, the narration by Elizabeth Evans is phenomenal. I bought the second novel, Accidental Sorceress, as soon as I finished the first, and it was even better. I can't wait for the next of the Hardstorm Saga to be published.

The Hattie Davish Mysteries by Anna Loan-Wilsey are one of my favorite historical fiction series, and A Deceptive Homecoming did not disappoint. I'm hoping there will be another book soon.

Another fantasy series I enjoyed was The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. I fell in love with the characters and couldn't put it down. This was the kind of book I wish I had read in middle school. The next book, A World Without Princes, was good, and so was The Last Ever After, but neither had me up past midnight like the first. Maybe I'd have enjoyed them more if I were younger.

I bought Under Different Stars by Amy A. Bartol because I fell in love with the cover and the price plus audio was inexpensive, but the story and characters captivated me enough to buy the second, Sea of Stars. This series is more science fantasy, than science fiction, with quite a bit of romance. The grammarian I've been nurturing since I started writing seriously was a bit jostled by the preference for participial phrases, but Kate Rudd's narration made up for that and the excessive violence in the novel. I don't think I would have gotten halfway through book 1 if I was reading instead of listening. I was going to give up at the end of book 2, but the reviews for book 3, Darken the Stars, convinced me the story changed directions dramatically, and I'm glad I took a chance on the last book--it was well worth it.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is another novel I don't think I would have enjoyed so much if I had read it instead of listening to John Lee's narration. I hope to get to the rest of this series at some point, but now I'm reading Murder in Chelsea by Victoria Thompson (I love her Gaslight Mysteries series) and listening to Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne (narrated by Bianca Amato).

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June 29, 2015

At the Museum

Here is another scrapbook page of out trip to NYC in 2011. Every time I feel I'm falling further behind, I tell myself I'll have lots to keep me busy when I retire.

Pebbles Lakeside paper; October Afternoon rub-ons; American Crafts card stock; unknown flowers, brads and tickets.

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June 27, 2015

Summer wreath

Summer has been here longer than the official week, but I finally finished the wreath I've been wanting to make since last year.
Most of the embellishments I used were from the American Crafts Mayberry collection. Other: Pebbles layered felt; Prima paper flowers; Jillibean Soup butterfly pins; My Little Bit of Whimsy ice cream pin, K&Co. chipboard stickers, Eyelet Outlet brads; unknown tulle and foam circle.

I also made seasonal wreaths for spring and fall to go with the store-bought winter one. Now my set is complete.

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June 17, 2015

Spring reading

Last year I gushed about how much I loved Charlie N. Holmberg's Magician series. I was so excited Master Magician came out this month that I read it as soon as it arrived. This third book was everything I wanted it to be and more. I already pre-ordered her new novel, Followed by Frost, and I can't wait to discover another of her magical worlds.

I don't usually read contemporary YA, but Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein kept the promise made by the book's description, which I read as a query letter long ago. Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl was cute and enjoyable, although I didn't find the narrative voice as historical as I would have liked. Another cute story I enjoyed earlier this year was Fairy Godmothers, Inc. by Jenniffer Wardell, which I forgot to mention in my previous post.

Not sure why it took me so long to pick up Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey, but I'm glad I listened to it narrated by the author. It's no secret that I love novels inspired by Jane Austen's work, but I had never read any with magic in it. To immerse myself in a Regency world with glamour was delightful. I also listened to the next two books in the Kowal's Glamourist Histories, Glamour in Glass and Without a Summer. Jane is such a layered character, and I loved the dash of espionage and intrigue in these later books. Without a doubt, I found another series to love, but I forced myself to take a break before reading the last two books--just to stretch my enjoyment.

I'm currently reading Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein, which I started enjoying after I got over the main character's childhood trauma. The paranoia of motherhood attacks when I least expect. On my long commute, I'm listening to Graceling by Kristin Cashore, which is an amazing production performed by David Baker and the full cast family.

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May 6, 2015

NY with Dindo

These pages are from a quick weekend with my brother, while he was living in New York.
Pebbles From Me to You papers; American Crafts Thickers; Jillibean Soup word sticker; Basic Grey alphas; Simon Says Stamp jewels; Bela Blvd designer tape; Stampin' Up! washi tape and velum; unknown tag and ribbon.

October Afternoon Sidewalk papers, journal cards, buttons, rubber embellishments, twine, alphabet stickers and mini-alphas. Other: Sassafras large letter stickers and unknown card stock.

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May 4, 2015

Perks of visiting grandparents

Lots of pages to post, which I hoped to do for National Scrapbook Day last Saturday but the weather was too nice to stay indoors.
Authentique Genuine paper, K&Co. metal art flowers, October Afternoon rub-ons, Core'dinations card stock, and Jillibean Soup alphabet stickers.

American Crafts Shoreline papers, stickers, and card stock;  Eyelet Outlet sailboat brads; October Afternoon large alphas; Lilybee ABC stickers; Bela Blvd designer tape; Stampin' Up! washi tape; unknown sequins.

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April 22, 2015

Books to read and listen

Now that my nine-year-old needs to read 50 minutes every day, I find myself reading aloud with him more than reading by myself. Not that I have any problems rereading Harry Potter, especially now that he is on my favorite of the series, The Half-Blood Prince. But I'm not making much progress on The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, which I'm enjoying whenever I'm not too tired to read.

The major dent on my to-read pile is being made during my new hour-long commutes. I fell in love with narrated books, great company on the boring highway drives. I started with Marking Time by April White, which I already gushed about on my last book post. I've waded my way through classics like The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles (which I wouldn't have managed to read) and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (which I'm glad I didn't read until I was old enough to appreciate it). Interestingly, my desire to try Dickens was because I loved Artful by Peter Davis, a vampire-infested sequel to Oliver Twist.

The Sleeping Beauty by C.S. Evans was cute, but I still prefer the Disney version where the prince gets to earn his bride. I had heard so much about The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer that I was eager to read Cinder. It was fun and ingenious in its fairy tale adaptation, but I didn't feel compelled to devour the series in a single gulp. I might get back to it in the future. Today I started listening to Soulless by Gail Carriger, another book I've been meaning to read for years.

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April 12, 2015

Summer fun

I've been scrapbooking to get my mind off other things, but I feel I'm not making much of a cut on the backlog. But these pages do make me happy...

For this layout I used October Afternoon Boarding Pass papers and embellishments from OA Farmhouse flower stack and Sassafras Via Air Mail paper whimsies. I diecut the title with Stampin' Up! Little Letters thinlets. Other: WRMK floss, Bic Marker, and unknown buttons.

Papers for this second layout was from the Little Yellow Bicycle Splash collection. Letter stickers was from Echo Park Playground. Other: Ranger Glossy Accents; unknown buttons and embellishments.

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March 18, 2015

Light up the Night

Working with pictures of my late father-in-law is heartrending, no matter how many months have passed. For this layout I used papers and stickers from Pebbles' Family Ties collection.
Other: American Crafts glitter Thickers and layered flower; Cosmo Cricket chipboard alphabet; WRMK Sew Easy piercer and floss.

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February 28, 2015

All sorts of weddings

I meant to post this page for Valentine's Day, but never got around to doing it. Photos are from our celebration of my brother's domestic partnership signing.

From the January 2012 Card Kitchen kit: Jillibean Hearty Barley stickers; Soup Staples papers; Doodlebug buttons; and Maya Road chipboard and pins. Other: Colorbox chalk ink (Dark Brown), Martha Stewart ink, Ranger Glossy Accents, Signo white gel pen, and unknown card stock.

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February 12, 2015

New Year Reading

I finished V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton, but I have to say it was not one of my favorites. This novel didn't feel like it was about Kinsey, and she is the reason I keep reading through the series. I'll read W is for Wasted when I get it back from my mother-in-law, but I'm not as excited about the series as I was a few years ago.

I closed Mage Revealed by C.D. Coffelt thinking of The Empire Strikes Back, which is my go-to for good sequels. I loved Wilder Mage, but it took me a few chapters to get into the sequel, as I was uncertain about Bert. I'm glad I stuck to it. Character development is excellent all around, not just the ones I remembered fondly from the first book. I like where the plot is going and I can't wait for the next installment.

Anna Loan-Wilsey's A Sense of Entitlement is a great addition to the Hattie Davish series. I love how the setting descriptions in theses historical mysteries immerse me in the time period, and the characters are delightful. I hope there is another book on the way.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner is a great sci-fi take on a shipwreck disaster. In some ways, it reminded me of Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher, and I loved both.

To round off the list, I've been binging on a time-travel series by April White. The historical detail is impressive, and I didn't think I would ever want to read another vampire book until I met Archer. I got Marking Time for free after it was mentioned on a newsletter I subscribe to, then bought the audiobook to distract me when I heard my daily commute would triple in length. I started listening to the narration, but got so immersed in the story I had to stay up late reading to make sure the characters got home safe. I bought Tempting Fate as soon as I finished the first book, and now that I devoured it, I'm starting Changing Nature.

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February 11, 2015

Rain drops and rubber boots

For this page, I used Cosmo Cricket Togetherness papers and chipboard stickers I've been hording for a long time:

Other: American Crafts Thickers alphabets (chipboard and vinyl); unknown cardstock and metallic rain drops. I didn't have two sets of matching blue alphabets, so I used a Bic marker to color a light pink chipboard set then covered it with glossy accents. It's hard to see the watercolor effect on the photo, but I loved the result.

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