Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yummy book cover

I was doing my morning blog-hopping and came across this post on The Midnight Hour. I've always had a thing for dragons and I love the look and colours of this cover. The book sounds like it might be fun too. I hope Deborah Cooke doesn't mind me taking the cover and blurb from her site and putting it up here because I feel the need to share.

For millennia, the shape-shifting dragon warriors known as the Pyr have lived peacefully as commanders of the four elements and guardians of the earth's treasures. But now the final reckoning between the Pyr, who count humans among the earth's treasures, and the Slayers, who would eradicate both humans and the Pyr who protect them, is about to begin…

When ace accountant Sara Keegan decides to settle down and run her quirky aunt's New Age bookstore, she’s not looking for adventure. She doesn’t believe in fate or the magic of the tarot—but when she’s saved from a vicious attack by a man who has the ability to turn into a fire-breathing dragon, she questions whether she’s losing her mind—or about to lose her heart…

Quinn Tyrrell has long been distrustful of his fellow Pyr and a self-reliant loner. When he feels the firestorm that signals his destined mate, he's determined to protect and possess Sara, regardless of the cost to himself. Then Sara’s true destiny is revealed—and Quinn realizes he must risk everything—even Sara’s love—to fulfill their entwined destinies...

This has also reminded me of all the book covers I still have sitting waiting to go up on A Cover a Day... so I'm going to try to get back into the habit of posting over there.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lovely morning

I'm having such a lovely morning.  I have the house to myself and I'm doing patchwork and listening to Paul Kelly.  Perfect.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Aeroplane Adventure

Background paper from "Hard @ Play" by Dani Mogstad; frames and glitter circle from "Crazy Love" by Dani Mogstad; beaded spray from "Blessing" by Tracy Ann Robinson; leaf stamp from "Roses - Stamps" by Anita Stergiou; blue and green flower from "Pipe Cleaner Flowers" by Kate Hadfield; red and yellow flower from "Felt Flowers" by Holliewood Studios; fonts are Century Gothic, Confusebox and Chopin Script.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It's been a crafty day

I did a scrapbook page today too. Wow. Long may this crafty moment last.

When we were out shopping one weekend, there was a guy there making ballon animals and stuff. Marcus chose to have a dinosaur.

Background paper from "Splatters 3" by Tracy Ann Robinson; cardboard by Vera Lim in "A New Start" by Vera Lim and Gina Miller; journalling sticker from "French Countryside" by Christina Renee and Shabby Princess; star from "Rock Star" by Dani Mogstad; swirl from "Paper Swirls" by Tracy Ann Robinson; cardboard tear strip from "Build Your Oen Bulletin Board" by Gina Miller; flower from "Funky Flowers Bright" by Paint the Moon Designs; glittered frame from "File Frames 5" by Tracy Ann Designs; plain frame from "Get Hinged" by Tracy Ann Designs; definition from "Dictionary Defined Boys" by Miss Mint; heart from "Heart Felties" by Fee Jardine; tie down from "Ribbon Tie Fastners II" by Natalie Braxton; wrapped ribbon from "My Boy Add On" by Laura 18K; alpha from "Crazy Love" by Dani Mogstad; font is KGD Kerry Script.

Lookie here!!

Wow, I did it! I did lots of stitching! It is so wonderful to finally feel like stitching again after about a year of struggling to do anything.

I went to the doctor about a month ago and he ordered some blood tests. Blood tests almost always come back normal for me, as what it wrong with me just doesn't show up anywhere. But this time my B12 levels came back as low and the doctor prescribed me a 3 month course of B12 shots to bump it back up. I had this once before and it really didn't make any difference, so I wasn't expecting much. But this time the change was amazing. I won't be climbing mountains any time soon, but before this I was sleeping all day when I could and struggling when I couldn't. I'm still tired now, but relatively speaking, it is so much better.

And I'm stitching again, which is so wonderful.

I was already working on "Dawn Star" and hoping to finish my fourth half page. I cut my pages in halves vertically and then taped all the top halves together to form a strip that is the width of the design (5 pages) wide and half a page high. The fifth page was all background and I just kept on stitching until I finished it. So I now have my first strip done (and only 8 more to go!). This means I am an astounding 11% completed on the design. I wonder how many more years it will take me to get it done?

All the same, I am absolutely delighted about this. It is such a great feeling, both to be stitching again and to have made such an achievement. This first strip is mostly background, so I do worry about whether the colour changes are too sharp and such, but I do know that as the rest of the design comes in, it should all come together beautifully. Since I'm the designer for this one, I'm super critical about how it is coming out. (I go for more "blockiness" in the background than some other designers to make the stitching easier for the stitcher, but I'm super conscious of how it looks.)

So without futher rambling, here is 11% of "Dawn Star". (It's clickable for a considerably bigger version.)

Next, I'm going to put "Alpine Seasons" on the frame. Hopefully I will FINALLY get part 9 finished, which will mean all the stitching that goes around the centre will be done at last.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Progress on TW's "Illuminata"

Teresa Wentzler has another picture up on her blog of her progress on Illuminata.

I was already teased and temped by this design as I love manuscript pages, but now she shows us there's going to be a dragon as well!

Go and take a look, it's beautiful.


Monday, October 01, 2007

My September Reading

Sadly, after my wonderful August writing reviews, I just didn't feel up to it this month - and I read some really good books too. So here's my list and a short comment on each.

  1. The Raven Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt (7/10)
    Historical Romance; book 1 in the "Prince" trilogy.
    This was an okay read, with some interesting moments. There's one big plot point that I found the coincidences required to set up a bit much to swallow, but if that's ignored, the story runs fine.
  2. The Viscount Who Loved Me - Julia Quinn (7/10)
    Historical Romance; book 2 in the Bridgertons series.
    I like Julia Quinn's light, fun style and having a bit of a read at the beginning of the month, did a read through most of this series. A very pleasant, fun read with engaging characters and a wonderfully vicious croquet game.
  3. An Offer from a Gentleman - Julia Quinn (7/10)
    Historical Romance; book 3 in the Bridgertons series.
    Another nice, light read. The characters are likeable and seem good examples of their relative stations in life. A clear telling of the Cinderella story, which I tend to like. The resolution of how two people from very different social classes can marry is a bit like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but does work all right.
  4. Romancing Mister Bridgerton - Julia Quinn (7/10)
    Historical Romance; book 4 in the Bridgertons series. I had liked the heroine in this one from when we first met her - in a horrible tangerine dress - back in The Duke and I so it was lovely to see her come into her own and get her own happy ending.
  5. Sebastian - Anne Bishop (10/10)
    Fantasy; book 1 of Ephemera.
    Having loved Bishop's Black Jewels books, I was eager to try something else of hers. This is a fascinating book, set in a world where a dark power was defeated long ago and to keep it trapped the work was shattered into pieces that are linked by "bridges" between them. It took a little while to fully grasp the world, but again Bishop has created something new and different. Sebastian is a half-incubus who finds himself caught up in the fight against the old evil, mostly because of his family connection to his cousin, who is a rogue practitioner of the power to link the broken landscapes and the only chance of defeating the evil. Along, the way, he also gets the girl.
  6. No Nest for the Wicket - Donna Andrews (8/10)
    Light mystery; book 7 in the Meg Langslow series.
    I love Meg Langslow and her crazy family. In this book she and her fiance, Michael, are hosting an "Extreme Croquet" tournament that turns into a murder investigation when Meg finds the body of a young woman who appears to have been killed from a blow to the head with a croquet mallet. The usual insanity occurs and a fun time is had by all - except perhaps the victim and the murderer of course.
  7. The Penguin Who Knew Too Much - Donna Andrews (9/10)
    Light mystery; book 8 in the Meg Langslow series.
    This time around, Meg and Michael find themselves playing host to a variety of zoo animals as well at the boy of the zookeeper who has been buried in their basment. I found several laugh out loud moments in this book and thoroughly enjoy the whole insanity. I look forward to the next installment in the series with delight.
  8. Caressed by Ice - Nalini Singh (10/10)
    Paranormal romance; book 3 in the Psy/Changeling series.
    This third book in Singh's series is, in my opinion, the best, primarily because of the balance she pulls off between the main needs of a book of this type. A good paranormal romance needs a relationship, an outside plot and worldbuilding. Singh weaves them together beautifully in this book, so that everything ties in to everything else and the romance grows organically with the rest of the story, rather than either taking it over or trying desperately to get out of the background, both of which often happen in books in this genre. Very likeable characters who develop realistically and in a satisfying manner. I also liked that the characters made decisions about what they were going to do next, instead of it just "kind of happening".
  9. To Sir Phillip, With Love - Julia Quinn (6/10)
    Historical romance; book 5 in the Bridgertons series.
    Acceptable entry in the series, but felt a bit forced in places. I felt that Eloise wasn't used to her full potential given how her character had been developed previously in the series. My infatuation with this series is beginning to fade.
  10. The Fire Opal - Catherine Asaro (7/10)
    Romantic fantasy; book 4 in the Lost Continent series.
    I personally think Asaro writes science fiction much better than fantasy and this book reinforces that opinion. It was a fine, pleasant read, but she can do much better. It was very slow to start, but picked up about halfway through to have a satisfying ending. I also liked the touch that suggested this "world" is some sort of appearing/vanishing continent in our world. I like these books, but I'm hanging out more for the next Skolian book.
  11. Lover Eternal - J. R. Ward (8/10)
    Paranormal romance; book 2 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood; reread.
    I was trying to reread this series before the new book came out (although I didn't make it) and again, I enjoyed my visit into the world. These are over the top books and the idea is to sit back and go for the ride. That's what I like about them, and how I approach them and I enjoyed myself.
  12. When He Was Wicked - Julia Quinn (6/10)
    Historical romance; book 6 in the Bridgertons series.
    Okay, I think I'm done with these. There was too much angsting in this book - "Oh no, I'm in love with my dead brother's widow and that is just so bad" - and I felt the characters wallowed in the situation rather than getting on with doing something useful. Not nearly as good as the earlier ones, although Francesca's conversation with her mother about falling in love again after being widowed was nice.
  13. Dark Possession - Christine Feehan (5/10)
    Paranormal romance; book "some big number" in the Carpathian series.
    Okay, it is actually book 18 if you count the short stories, which I do. This series has been failing on me for a long while now, but it is like a terrible addiction that I just can't shake and I keep buying the next one. This was a hardcover, which saved me, as I borrowed it from the library instead. I'm glad I did, as it didn't work for me at all. Ironically, Feehan fixed some of the things that were annoying about earlier books, but then added a whole lot of new stuff to her worldbuilding that I felt were a sign of lack of imagination rather than the addition of something new that fitted with what had gone before. At last, I think I"m cured.
  14. Belladonna - Anne Bishop (10/10)
    Fantasy; book 2 of Ephemera.
    This book follows Sebastian's cousin, Glorianna Belladonna, as she faces up to the face it is her job/destiny to defeat The Eater of the World. Along the way she learns more about the nature of the world, meets up with a very nice man and makes a huge sacrifice to save the world. This is a great book that pulls ahead of Sebastian just a little and beautifully finishes the story. Glorianna is a good character, and Michael is just lovely. There were two ways it could have ended, and while I would have been sad but happy with what seemed to be happening at first, I was also happily content with the way Bishop did finish it. I still liked the Black Jewels series best, but these were also excellent.
  15. Transformation - Carol Berg (10/10)
    Fantasy; book 1 of the Rai-Kirah.
    Another fantastic series. Carol Berg writes original fantasy that walks the line of dark fantasy with every tipping over. So we get a solid story with strong, deep worldbuilding and fascinating characters who are never simple and always flawed. The story follows both the complicated, building friendship between the slave, Seyonne and his princely owner, but their battle to save Zander's empire from being overtaken by demons. Seyonne, once trained to fight demons, finds himself caught between his loathing for the empire and his needs both to stop the demons and save Zander. There are two more books in the series - both of which promise to be equally complicated and fascinating - and I can't wait to find the time to read them.
  16. Wizard's Bane - Crystalwizard (6/10)
    Fantasy; book 1 of the Sojurn Chronicles; read for [FantasyFavorites].
    A solid read that appears on the surface to be a standard "travelling" fantasy, but carries some interesting hidden depths. The growing suspicion of a historical war between magic and psionics and the contrast between the local inhabitants of the planet (a fairly standard fantasy setting) and the high-tech psi characters from off-world raise this up to a higher level. My main issue with the book, which lowered its score, was that I got very tired of the travelling, travelling, travelling and the way we just kept on and on collection more members of the company. All the same, certainly not a bad book. Give it a try.
  17. So You Want to be a Wizard - Diane Duane (8/10)
    YA fantasy; book 1 of the Young Wizards series; reread; audiobook.
    I read the first three books in this series many years ago, when I was a lot closer to being a young adult myself. So I was delighted to see the books available as audioboks. I enjoyed meeting Nita and Kit all over again and going on their first wizardly adventure with them and hope to find time to listen to more of the books in the not too distant future. The narrator was fine, although every now and then the accents she put on for the children did great a little. All the same, it wasn't enough to distract from my enjoyment of the book.
  18. Lover Unbound - J. R. Ward (9/10)
    Paranormal romance; book 5 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
    I'd been waiting for this book since Lover Revealed came out, so when I found some negative reactions to it around the internet (always vague as I was avoiding spoilers) I was a bit worried of what I would think. However, once again I thoroughly enjoyed my ride with the Brothers. This book is less a focussed romance and looks more at all the characters and what is happening in their lives, so we have set-up for Phury's book, more on John Matthew, more about the other brothers, especially Butch, as well as the romance aspect of the story between V and Jane. If you're wanting just the romance, that is sure to annoy you. I liked it. There has also been complaints about the ending, but I was fine for it. I don't know if I think it was Ward's best option or not, but it worked for me and the sacrifice of the birds was a beautiful thing (you'll understand if/when you've read the book).

Books read this month: 18
DNFs this month: 0
10/10 reads this month: 4
New reads this month: 16
Rereads this month: 2

Books read so far in 2007 = 101
DNFs so far in 2007 = 8
10/10 reads so far in 2007 = 13
New reads so far in 2007 = 89
Rereads so far in 2007 = 12