Raspberry Kiss
02 Jul, 2020

Raspberry Kiss

/ posted in: Quilting

I finished a quilt top!

I checked the blog and I started this in January 2016.  Honestly, I thought it was older than that.


I had bought a FQ bundle of this Birds of a Feather fabric line. I usually don’t make quilts with all one line but I liked these fabrics. Then I chose some beige fabrics mostly with words for the corners.

I didn’t even have a plan for the layout. I finally decided to figure that out a few weeks ago so I had a goal.


I’m pretty happy with it. Let’s see how many years it is until I quilt it now!

The Scoundrel’s Bartered Bride
01 Jul, 2020

The Scoundrel’s Bartered Bride

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading The Scoundrel’s Bartered Bride The Scoundrel's Bartered Bride by Virginia Heath
on July 1, 2020
Pages: 288
Genres: Historical, Romance
Published by Harlequin Historical
Format: eARC
Setting: England


To the highest bidder

Lady Lydia Barton cannot seem to avoid Owen Wolfe since he’s returned after being wrongly transported for stealing her family’s jewels! But Lydia has more pressing problems, like her impending arranged marriage. Until Owen makes her father a counteroffer for her hand. Is Owen purely after her society connections, or dare Lydia hope that the charming stable boy she once loved is still within her ruthless, wealthy new husband?


I don’t tend to agree to read historical romance books for book tours because I’m so picky.  I’m glad that this one worked out well for me.  

There is a little bit of suspension of disbelief that I had to do to make this story work though.  If someone’s family had had me arrested, sentenced, and transported across the globe to a penal colony for a crime I didn’t commit, I’m not so sure I would care what happened to her.  For that reason I would have loved to see a little more anger from Owen towards Lydia’s family.  He seemed to agree to help her (although it was against her will) a little too easily to be readily believable. 

Setting that aside, I did enjoy the story.  I agree with other reviewers that Owen was much easily to like and root for than Lydia.  She held onto her hurt feelings for way too long considering that she wasn’t the one that had had her whole life ruined.  

I will definitely check out more books by this author.

July 2020 Foodies Read
01 Jul, 2020

July 2020 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading


Welcome to July 2020 Foodies Read!

  We had 22 entries in June!  The winner of the drawing is this post about JD in the Kitchen:  Indian Sweet Snacks from Eliot’s Eats.

The Foodies Read Rules:

  1. Every post must feature a book about food.  Posts that don’t center a book will be removed.
  2. Every entry is entered into a monthly drawing to win a gift card.  Once you win a prize you are not eligible to win for 6 months.





You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

30 Jun, 2020

June 2020 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

It was a quieter reading month in June than I’ve been having lately.

I continued reading some romance.


I also got into reading some historical mysteries.

The rest of the books


That’s 16 books.

The books I read were:

  • 1 audiobook
  • 0 nonfiction
  • Set in the U.S. and England and the Dominican Republic



Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

I actually did manage to add the Dominican Republic to my list!




It’s Not You, It’s Me – Clap When You Land
29 Jun, 2020

It’s Not You, It’s Me – Clap When You Land

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading It’s Not You, It’s Me – Clap When You Land Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
on May 5, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Setting: Dominican Republic and U.S.

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.


I have loved this author’s previous two books.  I was so excited to get to listen to this one as well.  However, I didn’t really enjoy this book.  I think this is an issue of having wrong expectations of what the book was going to be about.  

Reading that description, I expected to hear a story about two sisters who find out that they share a father.  I was interested in that.  Instead this book is a study of grief from several different viewpoints.  It does that very well but because that wasn’t the story that I thought I was signing up for I was frustrated through most of the book.  I just wanted them to get to the point where the girls meet each other.  That doesn’t happen until about 3/4 of the way through.  

The father in this story was just a horrible person as you find out the facts about his life.  It was hard for me to care about their grief for this man when he had been not good to the women around him.  There was also a subplot about a man trying to prey on Camino now that her father was dead that I’m sure was realistic but it was quite disturbing.  It added to the whole “women are forever being victimized by men and they have to just take it” feeling that the story had.  I just was not in the mood for it.  

So, great writing as expected from this author but it wasn’t for me.  I think if you know what the book is really about, you might enjoy it more when you are in the mood for something deep and sad.  

What’s Up?
16 Jun, 2020

DogGone Trouble

/ posted in: Pets

The husband and I pretty much got ourselves banned from the rescue where we got Freckles.  Yeah.  It got ugly.  It was so overwhelmingly stupid that I finally had to stop playing nice and say something.

Ok, when people want to adopt a dog a lot of rescues want to call your vet and ask if you take care of your pets.  It is usually a two minute phone call.  When we adopted Freckles it was a complete debacle.  They called my office and my receptionist ended up telling them off.  They wanted dates when my cats had their visits.  She tried to explain that my cats don’t come to the office.  I treat them at home.  There have to be some perks to having a vet as a mom.  This is balanced out by knowing that if you look suspicious in any way you can be suddenly grabbed for an impromptu vet exam in the kitchen or worse, the bathroom, at any time.  Given the information that my cats don’t go to the office, they failed us on the vet exam.  Let’s review.  I AM A VETERINARIAN.  I FAILED THE VET PORTION OF THE ADOPTION INTERVIEW.  Cooler heads finally prevailed and we got Freckles.


Fast forward eleven years and we are reapplying. I decide to head this off at the pass and explain what happened last time.  I say that if they call my office they will just get me on the phone.  I explained what vaccine protocols I use.  I say that I give heartworm prevention that I get for free from drug reps.  This is not ok.  I should have lied.  It starts to spiral out of control.  Basically you see, there is a form that needs to be filled out.  They want to see when I bought heartworm prevention.  I don’t buy it.  I also don’t charge myself for vet exams.  There are no invoices.  This is bad.  They can’t fill out the form.

Many painstaking weeks of emails and phone calls ensue.  HOW ARE THEY GOING TO FILL OUT THE FORM?  I kept saying to just write down what I do on the form.  This can’t happen.  There’s a form, you see.  Finally when I get an email asking me to provide Freckles’ medical consultation notes, I put my foot down.  Actually I told the husband to take my phone away from me before I derailed the whole process.  He then answered that email and told them very nicely that they were being really weird.  I wrote to their national organization and explained all that was going on.  I thought that they would agree that this was ridiculous.  I got a response back that basically said, “Sorry you are offended but you see, there’s a form….”

The husband got a nasty email back that said that she didn’t care that I am a vet and that we were repeat adopters.  We were strangers to her and why should she give a dog to strangers?  I mean, I thought that was literally her job….  Anyway, we once again failed to prove that we would provide medical care to a dog despite my being a veterinarian.  He wrote a scathingly sweet response back that ended with “Best of luck to your dogs” which I think is a lovely set down if read in the tone I imagine him using.

There are lots of rescues in the world but we were looking at a specific breed rescue because we are picky dog people.  Vets tend to look at dogs and immediately classify all the problems they are going to have based on their breed.  There are only a few breeds/mixes that the husband and I can agree on.  We are also still so amazingly pissed off at that rescue that we’d probably bite the head off the next rescue person who says, “We need to talk to your veterinarian…”

So despite our wish to adopt an adult dog in need of a home and my horror at the prices dogs are being sold for we broadened our search.  Seriously, if you add up all I’ve spent buying horses in my life, the total wouldn’t buy me a purebred puppy.  Now I’m side eyeing all the puppies I see in the office.  Is everyone I know paying thousands of dollars for puppies and then claiming my $12 rabies vaccine is extortion?  I’ve had purebred dogs all my life and every one was free.  The only mixed breed dog I’ve ever had was Freckles and she was the only one I had to pay for.

We are now on the waiting list for a puppy hopefully to be born in July.  The litter will be 3/4 Springer Spaniel – 1/4 Border Collie or as I like to explain, “Freckles but smart.”  (Freckles was Springer/Beagle and the sweetest dog in the history of the world but not the brightest bulb, bless her heart.)  The price is the same as the fee we were going to pay to adopt.

I set out to sweet talk the husband once I saw the ad.  I got an email back that said, “I’m not a puppy lover.”  By the time I got home from work that night (you know, at my job as a VET), he was saying, “If there is a little female that has an all black head we could consider it….”  I emailed the owner to get on the waiting list.  I texted the husband the next day and explained that there was NO COMMITMENT but we were just on a list of people who MIGHT be interested.  He texted back, “Yay”.  Not a puppy lover, huh?  

Hopefully our new dog is cooking as I write and we’ll find out next month.  I haven’t had a puppy since 1990 but I spend most of my day with them.  It will be an adventure at least.  


The Kat Holloway Mysteries
15 Jun, 2020

The Kat Holloway Mysteries

/ posted in: Book ReviewFoodies ReadReading Genres: Mystery & Detective
Format: eBook
Source: Library

Death Below Stairs
This series actually starts with a novella called Soupcon of Poison but Death Below Stairs is listed as the first book. It is confusing. I didn’t read the novella that introduces all the characters and that was fine. You can start right in with Death Below Stairs if you like.

Kat Holloway is a Victorian-age cook.  She’s young for the job since she isn’t yet 30 but she is very good.  She knows her worth and is willing to fight for her rights as a working woman.

She has just started at a new position as a cook in the household of Lord Rankin.  The household consists of Lord and Lady Rankin and Lady Rankin’s unmarried older sister, Cynthia.  There are a few rules she is going to have to lay down but overall she thinks it will be a good position until the next morning when she finds her young assistant dead in the larder.

I’m forever going on about hating mysteries where some busy body interferes in the police investigation.  I can’t appreciate a mystery book unless there is a legitimate reason for the main character to investigate.  The reason here comes in the form of Daniel McAdam.  He is some sort of undercover investigator.  Kat doesn’t know who he actually works for.  (SPOILERS FOR THE NOVELLA – They met in the first novella when Kat was accused of murder.  He helped her get free and they are tip toeing around the fact that they are attracted to each other.)  He is able to find place himself in the household as a stable helper and together they start investigating what happened.

The series is interesting because it is very much focused on the people in service’s perspective on the aristocracy.  Lady Cynthia is a spinster who loves to be outrageous by wearing men’s clothes in public and spending a lot of time with the servants.  She gets tapped to help with the investigation also because she can go places and question people who Kat can’t.

It is clear that the author did her research about how Victorian kitchens ran.  No matter what is going on with the plot Kat has to get all the meals on the table at the exact time every day.  The books describe how it was done every day and what meals were prepared.  It is a fascinating look at how these households actually ran.

In the second book Lady Cynthia recruits Kat to help her try to solve a mystery of some missing artwork.  One of her friends is being accused by her husband of stealing to cover her gambling debts.  Things get complicated when guests get ill and some die after a dinner party that Kat helped cook.  They can quickly prove that it wasn’t the food that killed them but who wanted to murder these people?












Kat is enlisted to help out with a neighbor’s household when the master of the house dies suddenly. Suspicion falls on a Chinese man who was seen in the area. Kat has talked to him and is convinced that he was not involved. She vows to prove his innocence as soon as anyone can find him.


I believe this series will be continuing.  There are a lot of overarching mysteries that haven’t been solved yet, such as Who exactly is Mr. McAdam and who does he work for?  What is going to happen to Lady Cynthia?  Is she going to have to marry to appease her relatives or does she have options?  


Heartstrikers/DFZ series
10 Jun, 2020

Heartstrikers/DFZ series

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading

I totally read these series in the wrong order.  I didn’t know that they were in the same world.  It worked out ok.  I understood what was going on.  But the second series has MAJOR spoilers for the first series.

Reasons that was good:

  • Less stress when it looked like one character was going to die because he had a cameo in the second series
  • When the first series bogged down a bit in the middle, wondering how it got to the end that I knew had to happen kept me going
  • I actually audibly gasped when a character in the first books was suddenly revealed to be a major player in the second series.  If I didn’t know this new incarnation was going to be a huge deal it wouldn’t have been so momentous.

So, I guess sometimes reading out of order is ok.

The Heartstriker Series (the one that is supposed to go first)

Seventy years ago magic returned to the world.  This wasn’t necessarily a good thing for humans.  Algonquin, the spirit of the Great Lakes, rose up and flooded the coastal cities that she blamed for pollution.  She was really mad at Detroit.  She has maintained control of the city.  It is now known as the Detroit Free Zone.  There are no laws except for those that protect water and fish and the one that bans dragons.

Julius is the youngest member of the Heartstriker dragon clan.  The Heartstrikers are the dragons of North America, descendants of Quetzalcoatl through their mother Belinda.  Dragons don’t breed often but she has had 10 clutches.  She gave the first clutch names that started with A, the next one B names, and so on down to J clutch and Julius – the most useless dragon.

Julius is so useless that his mother just grabbed him in the middle of the night, bound him magically so he has to stay in human form, and put him on a plane to the DFZ.  Maybe he’ll survive.  Maybe not.

He meets up with a human who was in graduate school for magic when her father was killed.  She’s on the run from his killers now and hiding in the DFZ.  Now Julius and Marci are going to work together to try to figure out why her father was killed and decide what to do with their lives now.

The problem is that Julius is nice.  He had no cut throat tendencies at all.  This is very upsetting to proper dragons.  He wants to talk through their differences instead of just attacking someone.  It’s unnatural but sometimes that’s the only approach that is going to work when everything else has been tried.




Over time Julius manages to bumble and sweet talk his way into more and more authority in his clan. It doesn’t hurt that his big brother Bob the seer is manipulating everything behind the scenes. No one knows what Bob’s plan is or who he will be willing to sacrifice in service of it. Marci is coming into her own as possibly the most powerful mage the world has seen since magic reappeared. Not everyone is happy with that.





Eventually dragons from around the world are showing up to defend themselves against Algonquin. The Siberian dragons have been a part of the series from the beginning. Chinese dragons travel to America. They are much more powerful than the upstart American dragons so it up to Julius to broker an alliance.





I really loved this world. The magical system is complex. The story is big with unexpected twists and turns. Julius is delightful in his certainty that nonviolence and cooperation with other dragons is the best way forward. His relationship with Marci is sweet and romantic but she never becomes just a love interest. She has her own story as a fully realized character.












The DFZ series


This series takes place decades after the Heartstriker series. Again, you can read it alone but it will give you spoilers for the first series.

Opal is a cleaner. She bids on homes, offices, and apartments where the tenant has been evicted. Her job is to go in and clean it out so it can be rented again. She can sell anything in the apartment to make money. She has a degree in art history and was making a good living at this until five months ago. Her luck changed then. Now she is close to defaulting on a loan backed by someone who you don’t default with. She’s found a dead body in her latest unit. Her Cleaning rival, Nik is a cybernetically enhanced human who is nosing around her buys for some reason. Now she has to figure out how to make money and not let Nik steal any of her potential profits.



She eventually figures out that she is under a curse. That is why she has such bad luck. In the second book she goes to extremes to try to get her curse lifted. She may even need to make a deal with a God.







Now Opal has to protect the man who had her cursed and held her financially under his thumb. She also has to free Nik who is being forced to fight in gladiator-style matches in the meanest section of the DFZ.

My new toy
09 Jun, 2020

My new toy

/ posted in: Hobbies

I was able to test out my kayak this weekend.  The husband had been saying that he was going to come with me to make sure I was ok.  I swear he is getting anxiety when it comes to me.  He doesn’t want to let me out of his sight.  Even going to work has him worried and then I spent the weekend protesting and kayaking.  He decided at the last minute that I would probably be fine and let me go on my own.

I went to a local reservoir that I knew had an easy place to get into the water.  There were loads of other kayakers there.  I decided to treat this trip as sort of a proof of concept trial – Can I get the kayak to the water without it falling off the truck?  Does the kayak float?  Can I manage to float around without capsizing?


So far so good.

I went for a quick spin around a little cove and then left. I was starting to feel it in my abs. I’m such a wimp!

Now I know that I can do everything I need to do. Next time I’ll be going for longer!


Protest Time
08 Jun, 2020

Protest Time

/ posted in: Current Events

This weekend I went to a march in Akron in support of Black Lives Matter.

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It was peaceful.  The organizers threatened to beat down anyone who wasn’t.  The mayor was there.  I think it was a bit under duress.  They didn’t say a whole lot of nice things about him to his face.  The police were mostly guarding police headquarters.  There was a helicopter overhead and people up on office building roofs.  I saw a group of mounted police but they left just as the protest was getting started.  

July 2020 Foodies Read
01 Jun, 2020

June 2020 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading


Welcome to June 2020 Foodies Read!

  We had 42 entries in May!  I think you guys actually broke my blog for a few days.  The winner of the drawing is Avid Series Reader’s review of Death Runs Adrift.

The Foodies Read Rules:

  1. Every post must feature a book about food.  Posts that don’t center a book will be removed.
  2. Every entry is entered into a monthly drawing to win a gift card.  Once you win a prize you are not eligible to win for 6 months.





You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

31 May, 2020

May 2020 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

I had another fun reading month.  I changed from all romance all the time like in April to a mix of romance and urban fantasy.

I continued reading some Alissa Johnson.


I read a companion series to one of my favorites in April.

I read 2 series set in the same world but read them in the wrong order.

I read this great series. I want more from this world!

I already posted about this fun mix of magic and romance.


The rest of the books

That’s 27 books in total!  

The books I read were:

  • 2 audiobooks
  • 2 nonfiction
  • Set in the U.S. and England and India



Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

Nothing new in my comfort reading month.




The Extraordinaries Series
26 May, 2020

The Extraordinaries Series

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Historical, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Owned

The Extraordinaries Series


This is an unusual series.  It uses the tropes of Regency Romance but places them in a world where some people have Talents.  I would describe these more as historical fantasies with romantic plots.

In Burning Bright, you find out about the world as a woman wakes up in a burning bed.  She has just manifested her ability as a Sorcher – she can set fires.  However, she is also able to put out fires which earns her the title on Extraordinar Sorcher.  She is the only one in England.

In this world, women with talents are awarded more freedom than ordinary women.  To escape her domineering father, Elinor offers herself for service in the Navy.  Her job is set enemy boats on fire.  Sorchers are common in naval battles but she is more powerful and she can also protect her ship from enemy fires.

Obviously, pirates and romance follow quickly.






Sophia is an Extraordinary Seer. She can see the past, present, and future. She was high in the War Office until a Lord that she accused of a crime convinces the powers that be that she falsely charged him. She is dismissed but is determined to prove that he is a criminal and restore her reputation.

“Sophia’s allies are few, but loyal. Cecy, her best friend, supports Sophia in her quest, while her cousin Lady Daphne, an irrepressible Extraordinary Bounder, is always ready for a challenge. And always watching her is the mysterious Mr. Rutledge, who claims to be interested in Sophia’s friendship—and possibly more than that—but who has an agenda of his own.

But as Sophia delves deeper into prophetic Dreams, Cecy and Daphne begin to fear for Sophia’s health and sanity. Driven to collapse by her frequent Dreaming, Sophia is forced to reevaluate her motives: does she want Lord Endicott brought to justice, or is it revenge she seeks? Sophia’s Dreams and Visions are leading her to just one place: the destruction of Lord Endicott. But the cost of her vengeance may be too high—and may demand the sacrifice of her own life.”

This book had a wonderful villian but didn’t really have a strong romance.  There is a romantic plot but it seems a bit tacked onto a good thriller/crime story.  The book didn’t really need it but I guess if these are being advertised as romances it had to be there.





“Calcutta, 1813. Lady Daphne St. Clair, who as an Extraordinary Bounder is capable of transporting herself anywhere in the world with a thought, has longed to serve in the Army for years. But an unexpected weakness at the sight of blood makes her responsible for a good man’s death in battle. Unable to serve on the battlefield, Daphne is sent to India to be transportation for the Governor-General’s wife and children. In disgrace, Daphne fears she will never achieve the fame and glory she has worked so hard for.

A chance encounter with Captain Phineas Fletcher, attached to the Honourable East India Company as a troubleshooter and investigator, leads to Daphne being given a new opportunity: help Captain Fletcher discover the truth behind a series of strange occurrences in the town of Madhyapatnam. Daphne is willing to do anything to restore her reputation, even something as small as Captain Fletcher’s investigation. As the days progress, her attachment to the members of the team grows deeper, as does her growing attraction to the captain.”

I would like this talent.  She can jump anywhere in the world as long as she can visualize the room where she is going to end up.  They are used a bit like evac helicopters.  They grab wounded people and jump them back to the hospital.  Her career falls apart when she faints that the sight of blood and isn’t able to transport a man who dies because of it.  She is sent to India to be a servant/transporter instead.  

Anytime you get get books set in the British Raj featuring British characters you are going to get some touchy storytelling.  Characters either feel superior to the Indian people or they are so excited to find out everything about them while objectifying them for being so different from British people.  That’s probably historically correct but can still feel off when reading it today.  Having more fully realized Indian characters might have helped.  

The story between the British characters was well done.  The romance was sweet and believable.  The logistics of a world where some people can teleport was well thought out.  

Big Kiss Quilt
15 May, 2020

Big Kiss Quilt

/ posted in: Quilting

Over the weekend I saw a quick quiltalong on Instagram.  It was for the Big Kiss Quilt.

I wanted to make it because it is great for showing off fabrics that I bought because I loved the pattern.  Then I got them home and had no idea what to do with them.  I picked out a few of these fabrics and threw this together.


See the Dalmatian fabric? I bought this for the first quilt top I ever made all the way back in 1997. I’ve been carrying that around for a while. It has been in 6 houses with me.

This is a fun quick quilt. It is about 50 inches square. That isn’t a favorite size for me but it would be good at this size or a little smaller for a baby quilt.


Find the free pattern here.

The Haberdashers
11 May, 2020

The Haberdashers

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading

The Haberdashers Series

In the early 1800s a group of young female friends form a club that they named The Haberdashers.  They liked the sound of the name and found it fitting that Haberdashers make accessories for men.  They were just coming to the realization that “accessories for men” is all they were supposed to become.  They decided to teach themselves skills that the boys got to learn because it sounded like more fun.

Book 1 – Trials of Artemis

Jacqueline (Jack) hates balls so she sneaks into her host’s library because she’s heard that he has some wonderful volumes in Greek.  She is accosted by a man who was planning on meeting a wealthy widow there.  They are found and then forced to marry.  I hate the whole concept of women being compromised by being found alone with a man.  Who are these people who imagine that the first thing you do when you meet with a stranger is to tear off your clothes and have sex?  It annoys me.

The nice thing about this book is that it allows Jack to keep being herself even though she is thrown into a marriage that she doesn’t want.  Her background reading military history comes in handy when she has to fight against some smugglers.


Book 2 – Athena’s Ordeal

This series does a really good job of maintaining a story through all the books. Characters from each book seamlessly move into the next story.

In this book, another of the Haberdashers, Sabre, comes to her brother’s house. Her brother is a spymaster and fixer for the government. A Duke is coming to consult with her brother to fix a problem. He mistakes Sabre for her brother’s mistress and offers to pay her more than she is currently getting. Instead of being horribly insulted she schemes to follow him to his house and help him with his problems.

This is a pretty unrealistic story. She shows up at his house and just stays there. Jumping from book 1 where a few minutes in a library means marriage to book 2 where she just hangs out is jarring. It was entertaining though.


Book 3 – Fates for Apate

The third member of the Haberdashers, George, is supposedly visiting a sick aunt in Scotland. Instead she is in Vienna on a mission for Robert, Sabre’s spymaster brother. When she gets too close to a source in the Prussian delegation, she needs to run back to England with him in tow to save them. Events in this book overlap the end of book 2 so you get to see the same events play out from different points of view.



Book 4 – Saving Persephone

This book was a disappointment. The main character in this one is Robert the spymaster. He meets an American who is part of a shipping family. The problem is that Robert is just a horrible person. He’s awful in the other books but I figured in his own book you’d see some softer side. Nope. Still an unmitigated jerk. I didn’t buy the romance in this one at all.





Book 5 – Taming Chiron

This book features Sabre’s other brother Charlie. He’s nice. He likes horses. He’s such a nice guy that the hosts of a house party pair him with the least interesting woman there. He is supposed to be nice to her to make sure she has a good time. They end up liking each other of course.






Book 6 – Pheme’s Regret

This was a premise that I haven’t read before. The female main character started a rumor years ago that completely ruined the life of a man. He had to leave England and live with relatives in France. He started his whole life over. Now she has business in France and needs a lawyer. She doesn’t realize that the man she hired is the same person she once ruined. This book is about forgiveness. I feel like it might have been a bit too easy but it was still an entertaining read.

One thing that bothered me about this series is that the main characters of the first three books, especially Sabre, got a bit obnoxious and overbearing in the last three. They didn’t like people pushing them around and then they did it to other women. It seemed a bit out of character.

Wine Girl
06 May, 2020

Wine Girl

/ posted in: Book ReviewFoodies ReadReading Wine Girl Wine Girl: The Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of America's Youngest Sommelier by Victoria James
on March 24, 2020
Genres: Nonfiction, Personal Memoirs
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library

An affecting memoir from the country’s youngest sommelier, tracing her path through the glamorous but famously toxic restaurant world

At just twenty-one, the age when most people are starting to drink (well, legally at least), Victoria James became the country’s youngest sommelier at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Even as Victoria was selling bottles worth hundreds and thousands of dollars during the day, passing sommelier certification exams with flying colors, and receiving distinction from all kinds of press, there were still groping patrons, bosses who abused their role and status, and a trip to the hospital emergency room.

It would take hitting bottom at a new restaurant and restorative trips to the vineyards where she could feel closest to the wine she loved for Victoria to re-emerge, clear-eyed and passionate, and a proud “wine girl” of her own Michelin-starred restaurant.

Exhilarating and inspiring, Wine Girl is the memoir of a young woman breaking free from an abusive and traumatic childhood on her own terms; an ethnography of the glittering, high-octane, but notoriously corrosive restaurant industry; and above all, a love letter to the restorative and life-changing effects of good wine and good hospitality.


I’ve always wanted to learn about wine.  I think the history of different vineyards and wines is fascinating.  That’s why I was interested in listening to Wine Girl.  What does it take to be an expert on wine, especially at a young age?

However, this book is more of a look at the sexism inherent in the restaurant and wine business than a primer on wines.  There is a lot of trauma discussed here.  There are descriptions of sexual harassment by patrons, forced sexual relationships by bosses and coworkers, and rapes by patrons.  She accepted these things as the price you need to pay to work in the industry.  By the end of the book, it was nice to see that she was using her new power as a restaurant owner to teach others that it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Even the nonviolent events show severe sexism in the world of high end fine dining.  There were restaurants where she was never allowed to set foot in the kitchen because the cooks were all male and didn’t want women in there.  (Yet these same people would probably consider cooking at home to be women’s work.)  There were restaurants where only men were hired as servers.  She was dismissed at sommelier competitions because women don’t compete.  They certainly don’t win.

There is a lot of information about her childhood here too.  I hate the inclusion of childhood details in memoirs.  I think authors tend to dwell too much on their formative years and it gets boring.  This story has echoes of Educated in the presentation of a dysfunctional childhood.  It should be noted that the author’s older sister, who doesn’t feature much in the book, has come out strongly against the book saying that her description of her childhood is not factual. 


The Lady Travelers Society
04 May, 2020

The Lady Travelers Society

/ posted in: Reading

The Premise of the Series

Three elderly ladies have been friends for decades.  They all married men who traveled around the world.  They were left home.  Now they are all widows who would like to make a little bit of money.  They founded the Lady Travelers Society to encourage women to go abroad.  They take a monthly membership fee in exchange for holding lectures about travel for women and for arranging trips for their members.  None of them have actually every traveled anywhere except for one trip to Paris as a girl but what could go wrong….


I’m a huge fan of older ladies in books.  The three ladies of the travel society aren’t the protagonists of this series but they are the main troublemakers in the background.

In the first book, the one and only lady who has taken up their offer to arrange her travel has gone missing.  Her niece has been writing increasingly concerned letters to the ladies (which they’ve ignored).  Now she is coming to the society to investigate.  The nephew of one of the ladies has also found out that they are scamming people and is trying to put a stop to it.  They team up to try to trace her aunt’s journey across Europe and find out what went wrong.


Victoria Alexander

In the second book of the series, the Lady Travelers Society sponsors a tour to Italy for a group of American mother and daughters.  Leading the tour is a widow who needs to get to Italy to get back a painting.  Her husband pawned it.  She doesn’t know that the painting that was gifted to her grandmother is considered stolen property.  She isn’t the only one trying to get it back.

She’s never been to Europe so is totally unprepared to be a guide but she has memorized all the guidebooks and hotels have been booked in advanced.  Her clients will be fine when she leaves them in Italy and disappears after finding her painting.







Harry has spent the last 20 years in Egypt. Now he is back in England and is horrified to find out that the most popular writer about Egypt is a woman who writes adventure stories. He writes letters to the newspaper deriding her work and challenging her to prove that she knows anything about Egypt.

Sidney has never been to Egypt. It isn’t her fault that people think her stories are true. She never claimed that. She has based them off of her grandmother’s journals and extensive study. Now she has to lead a tour to Egypt that will prove the she knows what she is talking about.










Viola and James married three years ago. Since then they have led separate lives. She has been traveling all over Europe. Now James’ uncle has died. His will states that Viola and James have to live together as a happy couple for three years in order for James to inherit the money needed to run the estates. Viola’s money is untouched. Will she work with him to help?












This novella is considered #0.5 in the series but I read it last. This one features the elderly ladies more prominently.

A chance meeting made a big impression on Celia and Henry. However, they never met again until some time later when he is supposed to marry her half-sister. The ladies know this is a horrible mistake and make it their mission to stop the wedding.











Why I liked these:

  • The travel aspect gave opportunities for different plots than books just set at house parties in England.
  • Independent heroines trying to make their way in a world that is fighting them.
  • Old ladies!!!!
May 2020 Foodies Read
01 May, 2020

May 2020 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading


Welcome to May 2020 Foodies Read!

  We had 27 entries in April!  The winner of the drawing is Tari for her review of Death in Four Courses.

The Foodies Read Rules:

  1. Every post must feature a book about food.  Posts that don’t center a book will be removed.
  2. Every entry is entered into a monthly drawing to win a gift card.  Once you win a prize you are not eligible to win for 6 months.





You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

30 Apr, 2020

April 2020 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

I had another huge reading month.  It was mostly all romance all the time which adds to the speed at which I was going through books.  I also found some new to me authors by giving books a try on Kindle Unlimited. 

I enjoyed this series that centered around an almost-legitimate travel agency for women.

Then I started reading a lot of Joanna Shupe’s books.  These were set in 1890s New York.

I read a lot of Erica Ridley too.

There were some single authors thrown in there.

Then I fell hard for another series.

I found another new to me author who I really enjoyed.

There were a few non-romance books in there.

That’s 31 books in total!  

The books I read were:

  • 1 audiobook
  • 1 nonfiction
  • Set in the U.S. and England mostly with a few side trips to Italy and France in the books.



Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

Nothing new in my comfort reading month.




24 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – U

/ posted in: Reading


I’m a sucker for reading about long distance running or biking or walking or any long distance activity.  I don’t want to do it necessarily.  (Definitely not the running part.)  But I find it fascinating to read about.

These are just a few of the books that I’ve read along the way.

I’m currently reading: Spirit Run

“Growing up in Yakima, Washington, Noé Álvarez worked at an apple-packing plant alongside his mother, who “slouched over a conveyor belt of fruit, shoulder to shoulder with mothers conditioned to believe this was all they could do with their lives.” A university scholarship offered escape, but as a first-generation Latino college-goer, Álvarez struggled to fit in.

At nineteen, he learned about a Native American/First Nations movement called the Peace and Dignity Journeys, epic marathons meant to renew cultural connections across North America. He dropped out of school and joined a group of Dené, Secwépemc, Gitxsan, Dakelh, Apache, Tohono O’odham, Seri, Purépecha, and Maya runners, all fleeing difficult beginnings. Telling their stories alongside his own, Álvarez writes about a four-month-long journey from Canada to Guatemala that pushed him to his limits. He writes not only of overcoming hunger, thirst, and fear―dangers included stone-throwing motorists and a mountain lion―but also of asserting Indigenous and working-class humanity in a capitalist society where oil extraction, deforestation, and substance abuse wreck communities.”