Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Purchase by Linda Spalding

After hearing author Linda Spalding speak about her new book, The Reckoning, I knew that I had to read it predecessor, The Purchase.  Ms. Spalding spoke with such passion and almost reverence for the trials that her ancestors struggled through, that I had to learn more about them.

At the end of the 18th century, Daniel Dickenson was forced out of his Quaker meeting house and his comfortable life.  Along with his children and new, young wife, they trekked south from Pennsylvania to Virginia to carve out a homestead and new life.  Along the way, and throughout the next two decades, Daniel and his family faced many challenges to their faith and morality.  Each family member had to find their own way to deal with these tests of faith.

I was captivated by this fictionalized tale.  From my comfortable life, I find it hard to imagine how difficult it was for Daniel to provide for his family.  In the current time when people seem to agonize over which flavour of expensive latte to order, it is helpful to be reminded of such hardships that others face even today.

I enjoyed the story telling approach.  I could imagine the author witting with her family relating the adventures of her ancestors.  Not a perfect retelling, but a remember oral account with some gaps and possibly careful omissions.  I was brave of Ms. Spalding to open up and reveal the skeletons in her family closet.  I would recommend this to readers who enjoy American history as well as family sagas.

Cover image courtesy Penguin Random House Canada.

#IndigoEmployee

Friday, 20 October 2017

Graveyard Shakes by Laura Terry

An adorably cute, full colour graphic novel of two sisters recently arrived at boarding school.  Victoria is trying hard to fit in with the other snobby students, where as Katia is quite content to be herself even if that doesn't win friends.

Victoria is the typical older sister who wants to follow the rules and have her sister do likewise.  Katia is a lot more impulsive and fun.  I love the frames where she is wildly playing the piano.

They soon become involved in a graveyard plot that puts one of them at great risk.  To save her sister, the other has to place her trust in another, something which she finds hard to do and is against her nature.

Great themes of sisters, friendship and trust.  This is an easy to read story with lovely graphics.  It's not really  a Halloween story, but it does have a variety of ghosts and spooks for young readers to enjoy.

Cover image courtesy Scholastic Canada.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.

#IndigoEmployee

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Needlework Tuesday - I'm Done With Procrastination

 Ok, you heard it here folks, I am done with procrastinating.  It bothers me to stumble across unfinished projects, and I have oodles of them. I admit, I am a serial starter, but definitely not a finisher.

A few months ago, I had the thought that I wouldn't start new projects, that I would start tidying up, and as I came across unfinished projects, rather than stash them away for later, I would finish them.  It didn't go all that well. Something always got in the way.
Hubby is away on a business trip for a few days, so I am taking advantage of that time and have spread out all the projects that are stashed in the tv room.   There are a bunch of fittens that need to have ends darned in, and lots of yarn to be put away, one pair of socks that needs the toes grafted and that pair of socks for my sister that I have been avoiding.   I decided I want to give the socks to my sister for Christmas this year, so I have to start working on them.  I re-printed the pattern I lost, read it over to determine where I was, and started knitting.  I am working on both heel flaps at the same time.  It is knit back and forth alternating the two yarns.  So far I have learned that I need better lighting where I am sitting and knitting.  I am excited about these socks once again and can picture myself finishing them in a timely manner.  In those times when I am finding the lighting wrong for such fine knitting, I'll work on those fittens  and get them ready for mailing to their destination.

What a relief to have a plan again.  I'll have to get out my journal, start a fresh page and jot down these plans.  I kind of fell off that wagon a while ago.  One of the benefits of bullet journaling, is that you can jump back in at any point and just continue.

In the meantime, I did finish the second cup cosy.  It is so cute.  here's the link to the pattern I used.  It's from the blog The Enchanted Ladybug.

I will definitely be making more of these fun little things.  She has such a variety of patterns on her site that they could keep me busy for a while.

When I looked for some black embroidery floss to attached the button in the eye and to stitch the mouth, I couldn't find any.  I did find some wool in one of those loosely braided sets for darning socks.  One piece of the black worked perfectly for both tasks.

Thanks so much for visiting with me today.  I hope it hasn't been while you were procrastinating about one of your projects.  If it has, then I hope you have found some inspiration to jump back in and get it done.



Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

 Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston

 I could not put this book down.  It is a totally captivating re-imagining of the modern world.

What if the influence of the British Empire had not waned, and if Victorian morality and courtly practises still held.  Author E. K. Johnston imagined that Queen Victoria devised a plan to weld the Empire together through strategic marriages of her children and grand children to nobility throughout her kingdom, not to that of neighbouring European countries.  Generations later, the plan has proved successful and the Empire thrives with a very mixed races population.

The current crown princess Victoria-Margaret is about to come of age and assume her duties.  Before undertaking those responsibilities, she wants one summer to live among and with her future subjects.  She travels incognito to Toronto to stay with her glamorous cousin Elizabeth.  She soon meets her family  friend Helena, to whom she is instantly attracted and they become the best of friends. This sets in motion a chain of events that they could never have imagined.

I loved everything about this story. The characters were young, just venturing into adulthood.  They thought they knew what they wanted, but when they walked through that doorway, they realized that there was far more to consider than their younger selves had imagined. 

I could not imagine having paid staff in my house such as a butler and an attendant to help me dress, though a cook would be most amazing.  I suppose if I had been born into that type of world, it would be common place, but to read about it and try imagining myself there, I don't get very far.    Ms. Johnston did a great job of re-creating the modern world as part of the Victorian era.  It felt authentic to novels I've read that were written in that time period.

I highly recommend this book.

Cover image courtesy Penguin Random House Canada.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.

#IndigoEmployee

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Needlework Tuesday - The Pleasure of Learning a New Stitch

It is much easier to stay in ones comfort zone instead of stepping out and trying something new.  Why put yourself to the stress of learning a new skill when the old one will do.

As I was searching for a pattern for the next cup cosy to stitch, I found that I kept being attracted to the ones made up by The Enchanted Ladybug.  It was the stitch she was using for the body of the cosy that was so attractive.

After printing out the free pattern and reading, I found that it was actually quite straight forward.  Alternate single and double crochets, turn and do the same again.  It was easy and I think it looks great.  Benefit for a cup cosy is that it is more dense that just rounds of single crochet.

Sure, this is an easy stitch, but new to me.  I'm glad I took that leap and learned how to make it.  I can see myself using it again and again, especially as this designer has lots of free cosy patterns.

Which are you: do you stick with what you know or do you try new skills in your projects?  When was the last time you learned a new stitch/skill, what was it?

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

 Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster

Sleeping sickness is the scourge of the land.  While the government fights to keep it's citizens safe and healthy, the enemy from Kamar continues to further spread the infection. 

Jiang-Sev is the last member of her family.  Her mother's body is displayed in  perpetual sleep as a warning to the citizens; she had been accused of bringing the sickness into the city.  Sev's status has been striped and she is being punished for the sins of her mother.  When a bomb explodes in the city, Sev is labelled guilty  of the crime and must flee or die.

I found it hard to get into the story and figure out what was going on in this stratified society.  While I did enjoy reading about her escape from the city and her journey across the outside, it wasn't enough to overcome the confusion of the plot.  There was too much subterfuge among leading characters.  Too many times I felt I could love or hate a character only to find out a few pages later that their history was a lie or fabrication.  I didn't form an attachment to Sev as she, herself was confused much of the time.

I wanted to like this dystopian novel, but it didn't connect with me.  I didn't care about the characters, whether they lived or died.  I did like the dancing and the explanation of why they danced.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.

#IndigoEmployee

Friday, 6 October 2017

Acceleration by Graham McNamee

This is a well told tale that captured my imagination from the first chapter.

Like many high school students, Duncan is less than thrilled about his summer job.  He spends his days well below street level working in the Lost & Found department of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). 

One afternoon, he picks up a leather bound book with no title.  Curious, he browses several pages to which are attached a bunch of news clipping about animal mutilations.  Not a book Duncan wants to read.  As the days pass, he is drawn back to the book and it's gruesome writings.  He finds that it is clear that the author of the journal has escalated from killing animals to targeting women.  It isn't long before he draws his friends Vinny and then Wayne into his research about the books contents.

Author Graham McNamee has created a realistic group of friends.  I could easily imagine these young men and their banter.  Their approach to solving the mystery of the author of the journal made total sense.  A trip to the local library is often a great place to begin.

I really enjoyed this story with it's mainly teenage characters.

If you enjoy books for teens with serial killers, you might enjoy:

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Agents of Chaos - X-Files #1 by  Kami Garcia

Cover image courtesy Penguin Random House Canada.

#IndigoEmployee