Books, Books and More Books

It’s been another month of eclectic reading, some more culling, and new finds in the quilting/sewing genre. Another load of books went to the library bookstore, and I made my decision on the cookbook series. The Cooking Light series was donated, mainly due to its lack of photography, even though the recipes are lighter and healthier. I just don’t get inspired from mostly printed words. When you are cooking, those pictures really do make a difference. I still need to cull just a bit more from the cookbook shelves, and donate the rest of the novels I’ve read and don’t plan to read again. I’ve been utilizing the library more too, for books I’ve had on my look-for list for some years and haven’t found. Affiliate links are provided for those wanting to see a synopsis or purchase the book. I appreciate you using my links when you can.

Vintage Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball. Another delightful visit to Ladybug Farm, and as more things change, the more things remain the same. There are the usual funny mishaps, but this one gets a bit more heartfelt as the two young people make decisions that change their lives forever. Getting to the end, I immediately want to read the next to see what happens, and the spin off series Hummingbird House introduced in this book. Easy reading, wonderful story.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. Expectations were high after the first novel in the series, The Rosie Project, but this one just felt like a train wreck in slow motion. I hate when characters make stupid decisions, and do things that a reasonable person wouldn’t do. Even with Don’s brain wiring being a bit different than the majority of the world, the lack of understanding and communication on Rosie’s part goes against her character development in the first book. It just wasn’t fun to read about the slow destruction of a marriage, and the lack of communication, even though it turns out well in the end. The situations Don gets himself into seem forced and contrived, not naturally flowing (like the first book) from funny ways that he views the world and other people around him. So, not great even though a few moments were funny.

Sepulchre by Kate Mosse. As I read this very long (500+ pages) novel, it seemed that the same story was being told in the two timelines. Perhaps that was by design, but I found it a bit tedious. It was interesting in the use of a fictitious tarot card deck and the supernatural power it contains. As usual, some really stupid decisions are made by the main characters in both timelines, which I find irritating. But, the story was entertaining enough to finish the book. Overall, I rated it as OK, not great, but not bad.

Sourdough by Robin Sloan. There is only one word to describe this story – quirky. It pulls the reader along, stretching credibility just a little and then a little more until the ridiculous becomes believable. It was a quick, easy read. The story is centered around a sourdough starter that takes on a life of its own, becoming stranger as the story goes on. Overall enjoyable, for fantasy fans particularly. It will make you want to bake some bread!

A Week in Winter by Marcia Willett. Thoroughly engaging book, difficult to put down. The story is complex enough to keep the reader’s interest, with characters that are drawn from real life. There is a bit of fantasy, in that the week in winter referred to in the title is love at first sight yet doomed from the start. The motivations of the characters are believable, even though there is a bit of being a bit too neat in tying up the ends. But it is a lovely story, will make you laugh in parts and bring tears in others. What more could you want from a fiction novel? Recommend.

On the crafting front, C&T Publishing has released several new titles. I’ve begun using more ebooks to save the space, but these are also available in real book form too.

The Ultimate Quilt Finishing Guide by Harriet Hargrave and Carrie Hargrave-Jones is a fabulous reference book, with detailed instructions on planning and applying borders including over 60 pages of border design ideas, dealing with corners and combinations. Then it covers batting, backing and binding. There are 130 pages packed full of great information for both the novice and advanced quilter. This one you’ll come back to again and again.

Harriet’s Journey from Elm Creek Quilts by Jennifer Chiaverini. For fans of the Elm Creek Quilts series, here is a sampler of 100 blocks to make, mix and match, make smaller sampler quilts, or go all out and make all 100 for a large bed quilt. Excerpts from the novel Circle of Quilters brings you back to Elm Creek, and the inspiration for the blocks.

Sew Home in the Kitchen by Abigail American Bennett. This fun book has 18 projects for the home, dining room and kitchen, along with tips and advice on fabric choices and working with insulating fleece. A special treat are the cookie recipes included.

So that is what I am playing with for now. I’m still sewing secret projects, and I have Pachanga on the longarm now. Would you like to see it? Well, here is the border, LOL!! I’m picking up the thread order today, and I expect to begin quilting it tomorrow. Next clue is Friday!

Next I need to tackle the bookshelves in the basement. I have five sets of Christmas books!!  Southern Living Christmas, Spirit of Christmas, Christmas with Victoria Magazine, American Country Christmas, and Gooseberry Patch Christmas.  Good grief, what is up with that!!!

What are you reading now? Do you like ebooks, or audiobooks, or do you prefer real ones?

24 thoughts on “Books, Books and More Books

  1. Julie

    Oh you tease, the border! Last week I dropped off both of the machines I use for quilting at the service center. Then I used my little basic machine to quilt a lap quilt. It stitches beautifully but I really miss my needle down feature not to mention the 8″ harp. I’m reading the biography of Lady Bird that was just released. It was a long time ago that she said it, but I still honor her “Make America Beautiful” campaign & pick up litter.

  2. I love your honest book reviews and can always find my next “gotta read”. I listen to audiobooks mostly, while quilting or driving. Thank you for identifying the cowbirds for me, they stopped by our place (northeast PA on the Delaware River) on their way down to you! I have never seen them before, they ate at our feeders and went directly to the Delaware and headed south.

  3. Thanks for the heads up on The Rosie Effect. I read The Rosie Project and (kind of) liked it, so I was wondering how the next one was and whether I should read it. I have a stack of books to be read, and just finished a couple – The Bookshop on the Corner (Jenny Colgan) – which was a delightful read, and Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes, also good although a bit lazy and casual. We have cowbirds here throughout the summer, and they frequent our feeders regularly.

  4. karenfae

    I drastically went through my book shelves about 10 years ago when I had to start having double rows on the book shelves putting books in front of other books or sliding just one more on top of others – and I got a kindle – now I have hundreds of books on my kindle instead 🙂 I still have books to hold when I want but I find this works for me and less dusting to do. I have a shelf of cookbooks to go through though that rarely get use and too many quilting books as well.

  5. Ladybug Farm sounds like a fun easy series, I’ll look for that, and the borders reference looks wonderful too! I got hooked into the Outlander series; I’ve been checking out the book and the audio, and listening while I sew, then reading during lunch breaks and other moments. They are massive books, and when I finish one I think I won’t check out the next, but then start wondering, and before you know it, I’ve checked it out! There’s just a lot of history, daily life in that time and good characters, along with interesting medicinal plant info…the author has a PhD in biology, so the research behind stuff is pretty top notch. I guess I am enjoying learning about the life and times as much as the history and the characters. I’ve never seen the TV version, and doubt I’d want to, I’m sure they have cut out a lot of what I find interesting! I have those on digital check out from the library, my real book is still the Good Earth, I put it down when I got disgusted with Wang Lung’s attitude, but he has gotten his wits back now, so all is well!

  6. I put a couple of your book recommendations on my hold list at our library! I’ve been wanting to read the Ladybug Farm series, so now will get a start on it. I have a couple of the Elm Creek quilting books on my shelf, but have never made anything from them. I loved all the novels! That was where I first read of the older quilter teaching the younger novice quilter to piece by hand and wondered why anyone would ever do that – and now I am!

  7. Becky Turner

    I decided not to long ago that there was enough real stupid people to deal with in the “real” world that I did not have to deal with them in my reading and audio book world.
    Once apon a time maybe not that so long ago I would finish every book I started regardless of how I felt about the story, the characters ect…. not now
    Life is to short
    I will say in my own defense I am much better at finishing my quilt projects.

  8. Darlene S

    Thank you for the recommendations for books to read. I’ve added quite a few to my summer reading list.

  9. Ah, yes, Marcia Willet. Love the settings—we have traveled in England a bit and really love it and I always enjoy her novels. Am in the middle of The Thursday Murder Club, which my daughter recommended to me. It is entertaining and reads like a script to Midsomer Murders!

  10. Joan Sheppard

    My Mom used to say “The hurriered I go the behinder I get!” And yes I am reading “Delphine and the Silver Needle” about Cinderella’s favorite mouse friend. (I pre-read all my kid’s books just in case.) It’s charming but I think I had intended to order a different book for boys? Doesn’t matter –
    Library = Free. Starting 2 new quilts for friends that are moving. What happened to finish before I start another? Awaiting the finish reveal!!!! Thanks

  11. Becky Pike

    Purging my cook books too…taking 1993 through 2019 Cooks Illustrated to the thrift store today with several others I no longer enjoy. Then back to my Pachanga…I went a different route and am using tiny plaids and stripes with a tiny dot that reads solid for the background…maybe a mistake but only making the topper size for under a lamp.

  12. Donna

    I usually buy books at the thrift stores or Half Price Books. I did buy “Me & Patsy Kickin Up Dust” by Loretta Lynn on the clearance at a bookstore. It’s about her friendship with Patsy Cline. It’s a short read and I would recommend it. If you haven’t read “Coalminers’s Daughter” I highly recommend it. I read it when it came out in the late ‘70’s I think. It was so much better than the movie but most books are.

  13. Nanci Cartwright

    I recently finished Astor Place that I purchased used after reading one of your book reviews about it and enjoyed it thoroughly. After that I read Maeve Binchy’s book A Week in Winter. It was the last book she wrote and is a series of stories of the people who spend a week in a new B&B let’s call it, in Ireland. It’s also the story of the woman who opens the Inn. I had forgotten how much I enjoy Maeve Binchy. It’s been years since I read Circle of Friends. I’ll definitely pick up more of her books to read.

    And I just finished a book in two days, I was so entranced by the story: Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe. A little fantastical, a lot Southern hospitality, lots of engaging characters, not too much tension, and a very satisfying read.

    I read both real books and books on my Kindle or borrowed from the Library on Hoopla e-books, or, picked up from the library. I generally buy the real books used and put most of those, once read, in our little lending library set in a tree in the community where I live.

    I love your book reviews and usually find one or two to add to my cache of books to read. Thank you so much for writing them.

  14. Linda B

    Can’t remember if it was you, Carole who last time recommended The Boy The Mole the Horse and the Fox? Anyway, that was great. I see it is #1 on the NYT book list. Boy, before covid, I usually only read “real” books, but it got to be such a hassle trying to go to the library, that I started reading electronic books on my Ipad. Have also always enjoyed listening to the electronic audio books…I never want to have to put a CD into the computer or player again. I know! SO SPOILED! About two weeks ago the Washington Post Book section put together a bracket of the best fictional detectives and if you like detective series, it is worth looking into… mostly for the hundreds of comments from readers about who their favorites were that had been overlooked. I have a few pages of fictional detective names written down to investigate (no pun). Anyway, had never heard of Toby Peters…a P.I in LA or Hollywood, set in (right now) the 1930s. Very entertaining and perfect for my present frame of mind AND the Library had all the e-books, most of which also had e-audiobooks. Author is Stuart M Kaminsky. Also found a 3-movie series called The Librarian, which was quite entertaining. We are so blessed to have such resources at our fingertips! Thankful here!

  15. Melanie

    I love your honest book reviews, Carole! I use all 3 forms of book reading and listening. If I only didn’t need to sleep so much, I’d have lots more time! LOL

  16. Rheanna

    I completely agree with the Rosie Effect. I was so hopeful based on the first book but found it completely unbelievable that Rosie would act that way.
    I just finished a thriller called I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. Very interesting plot about a woman whose child is killed by a hit and run driver. Trigger warning: one of the characters was in a physically abusive relationship and it could be difficult to read for someone with that type of history.
    Also, if you like historical fiction I recommend 50 Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie and The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah.

  17. Jo Anne Seccurra

    I liked the Rosie Project and appreciate your honest review of the Rosie Effect.

    I mostly immerse myself in audio books and so enjoy sewing or doing yard work while listening! The one exception is quilt books. The Finishing book sounds like a winner.

    Thanks for sharing your reviews!

  18. Carole, I can always count on you for honest reviews of books. I have run out of room to collect any more books, even though I love to hold one. I do love to read on my IPad, and I have never listened to an audio book! I love historical fiction.

  19. Sue Hoover

    Just finished Scott Turow’s “The Last Trial”. It was a good book. Sometimes it went into the details of trials a little deeper than what interested me but I like it overall. Next up is “A Stash of One’s Own” by Clara Parker. It should be an easy read and, although written for knitters, I understand us quilters will be able to totally relate as well.

  20. I love seeing the books others choose and usually my list gets a little longer! I tried your variations on the cake mix from your Pretty-cake post and met with great success. Thanks for that!

  21. Thanks for the honest reviews Carole, I enjoy seeing what others are reading. I read on a Kindle, so handy to always have your book with you because you can read it on your phone too. I have kindle unlimited from Amazon, tons of free books for only 9.99 every 3 months, it’s fabulous! I love the cover of A Week in Winter, I’m putting that on my list

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