"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review--Suzanne Adair's Latest Earns 5 Huzzahs!

A kidnapping forces his past into his present. Will it also impact his future?

Lt. Michael Stoddard of Yorkshire now serves His Majesty in the Army and is stationed in the Carolinas while Tarleton and Cornwallis try to curtail the rebels and maintain the Colonies for George III. Stoddard is a man of integrity who finds that all things in war are not black and white and wearing a red coat does not ensure its owner is morally upright. He also discovers that some rebels have a higher moral compass than the King's men.

We first meet Stoddard in Paper Woman, another excellent tale by Suzanne Adair. He has since become the star of his own series--Regulated for Murder and A Hostage to Heritage. While each of Suzanne's books can be read as stand-alones, they also build on one another in a seamless fashion and reading them in order increases the enjoyment of an overall underlying story arc.

Regulated for Murder gives us a ten-year old cold case tied to a present-day murder. A Hostage to Heritage gives us a kidnapping--but not just a normal kidnapping.
Hostage also gives us a series of jolts regarding Lt. Michael Stoddard. Those jolts give him hard choices regarding his own soul. I try not to post anything that can be considered a spoiler, so I'll just say that Hostage kept me up late two nights in a row because I just couldn't stop reading ;-)

If you have read the St. James' series by Suzanne, you will enjoy how characters make cameos throughout the Stoddard books. Her female characters are believable and appropriate for the times--they are not 21st century women wearing homespun. And although the setting is the Revolutionary War, blood and gore and battle scenes are not the means for ratcheting the tension in either story. And believe me, the tension is there. Even the descriptive passages don't take away from the plot movement. Some folks may think the cast of characters is somewhat large and hard to follow but each character definitely plays an important role in either Stoddard's past, present or future.

So we have murder, war, espionage, kidnapping, tax evasion, and bootlegging all competing with military and civilian politics. The wondrous part of it all is that even though all those things are present in America today, both Regulated and
Hostage are true to the 1780s in manner of speech, mode of dress, and behavior of the characters. Even the male/female tensions are believable (no bodice-ripper extraneous romance here).

The history is fascinating but woven in so carefully that I didn't realize I was learning about the southern theater of the American Revolution. You smell the cabbages and manure, you hear the thud of a trussed up body slam against a wooden wall, and you race along with your heart in your throat as men who should be comrades decide whether or not to kill each other.

Lastly, the amateur historian in me absolutely loves the bibliography/list of sources we get with each of the books. I can turn from fiction right to my library or online book sources to read more about Yorkshire, Hillsborough, Wilmington, Tarleton, Cornwallis, et al.

Whether male or female, if you enjoy multilayer plots set in well-researched history, you can't go wrong reading anything by Suzanne Adair.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Out of the Ice Age--Sticking My Toes into Social Media

Okay.  I took a baby step into social media today.  I'm now on Twitter.  Sharing thoughts in 140 character chunks may not be as hard as I thought, but integrating Twitter into my blog may take a few days.  I can learn new things provided I read enough manuals LOL.  And that's exactly what I'm doing with Twitter.

I'm also in the process of re-booting my blog and moving things around--updating links and getting ready to post new book reviews.  My April Camp NaNoWriMo was an epic fail in word count, but taught me much about scheduling my life.  Yes, I've said it before, but any day I am breathing is a day I can start over and try harder LOL.

To all the mothers out there--Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Yet Another Artistic Endeavor

An artist friend of mine has been talking art journals for a while, and I love journals and notebooks of all kinds (as prior posts here will attest).  She signed up for this free workshop and since it is free and uses words, I thought "what the heck; why not try this as an intro to art journaling?"  The other advantage to this workshop is that it has no time limits so I can work on it as slowly as my life demands.

Now I make it a point to use purely Stampin' Up! products whenever possible, so I will be adapting much of this to use things like our watercolor crayons and markers, as well as our alphabet stamps and our exclusive Sizzix dies (the negative images of our alpha dies make cool stencils). 

In other words--the workshop is simply a jumping off point for me--total inspiration in how to combine art and words...care to join me?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

I'm a couple of months late signing up for the challenge over at Historical Tapestry,  but hey, better late than never LOL.  After all, we all know I love historical fiction and this challenge isn't limited by sub-genre, so I can flit between romance, mystery, young adult or straight historical fiction.

There is also no restriction on reading format that I can see, so I have the option of Audible, e-reads (I've collected a lot of historical fiction on my Kindle, NOOK and I-Pod Touch), or the piles of paperback/hardcover historical fiction scattered throughout my home.  I just need to stop collecting and start reading ;-)

I still have a couple of weeks left before Camp NaNoWriMo begins April 1, so I hope to get a few books read before I hunker down to write some more, and I want to be more diligent in posting reviews, so don't be surprised if book reviews start popping up from time to time ;-)

If you enjoy reading history, come on over and join us!

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Version of Lent

I've started following FlyLady again--the wonderful Marla Cilley who wrote Sink Reflections and managed to indoctrinate into my mind that "I can do anything for 15 minutes".

Since I have developed health issues and am having to change my diet (i.e., fewer packaged foods and more fresh, healthy food), I've realized my kitchen needs re-worked so I can cook in smaller portions.  I've also realized I'd started collecting books in the hope I would read them someday (no matter that I have both a Nook and a Kindle LOL).  Let's not even think about all the craft supplies I have purchased because I like them and hope to use them "someday"...

So as I look around, I find more and more things that are taking up space but that are not used or that I purchased on impulse and don't totally love.  Hence the need to be "fly-washed" once more ;-)

We are currently decluttering for forty days--disposing of something no longer needed each day.  So far I have gathered up Pyrex bakeware I have not used since I purchased it in 2006 thinking I would be doing a lot of entertaining now that I am back in my hometown (insert laughter here).  I've thrown out "only good enough to wear around the house" undies--you ladies know what I mean, and we should love ourselves enough to wear decent underclothes daily.  I'd been storing up used mailing envelopes to re-use and that made sense when I had an active Paperback Swap account, but now that I have closed that account for the time being, I no longer need two large shopping bags full of used padded mailers LOL.

I'm taking fifteen minutes a day and disposing of something and I already feel better about the way my home looks.  If you suffer from any degree of CHAOS ("Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome") come join me and thousands of others around the world as we learn to FLY ("Finally Loving Yourself").