Monthly Archives: March 2013

Spring Vine Table Runner


*Click on any photo to enjoy a larger view

I’ve been having a lot of fun over on Threadbias stitching along with the Pretty in Patchwork Holidays group. This month our project was to create this sweet little table runner. I decided to use spring-like fabrics from the Oasis collection by 3 Sisters for Moda (which was conveniently in my stash). I also pulled out some Kona solids:  Melon, Mushroom and Snow.


This was my first time doing curved piecing. I followed this tutorial and it ended up being fairly simple to stitch the little petal blocks.

I decided to break up the “pinkness” of the project by adding a 2.5″ white border along the long edges – and I think that decision was the right one. I bound this runner with a little of the pink flowers on white.

SpringVineTR.quilting detailfront20001 SpringVineTR.quilting detailfront10001

Normally I would have free motion quilted a small project like this one, but because my thumb has been sore, I decided to I use my walking foot, lengthen the stitch length to 3.3 and trace around the petals three times, then around the entire “vine” as well. I did straight line stitching on the stem and along the long sides.

SpringVineTR.back0001 SpringVineTR.quilting detailback0001

My back is pieced because I did not have enough of the backing fabric for the whole project – I used a little of the yellow fabric along the long edges and a strip of the blue fabric across the middle.

This little runner measures 38″ X 18″ and it is reminding me that even though the temperatures are chilly, Spring is in the air!



Mailbox Monday – March 25, 2013

MailboxSpringWelcome to this week’s Mailbox Monday and which is hosted by Caitlin at Chaotic Compendiums this month. Visit the dedicated blog for the meme to see the complete tour schedule in the right sidebar.

I found just one book in my mailbox this week, but its a good one!

TransatlanticRandom House sent me a copy of Colum McCann’s newest novel, TransAtlantic (June 2013) as part of the Library Thing Early Review program. I read (and loved) McCann’s National Book Awarding winning Let The Great World Spin (read my review) and have been wanting to read another of his books. In TransAtlantic, McCann links three stories across time:

Newfoundland, 1919. Two aviators—Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown—set course for Ireland as they attempt the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, placing their trust in a modified bomber to heal the wounds of the Great War. Dublin, 1845 and ’46. On an international lecture tour in support of his subversive autobiography, Frederick Douglass finds the Irish people sympathetic to the abolitionist cause—despite the fact that, as famine ravages the countryside, the poor suffer from hardships that are astonishing even to an American slave. New York, 1998. Leaving behind a young wife and newborn child, Senator George Mitchell departs for Belfast, where it has fallen to him, the son of an Irish-American father and a Lebanese mother, to shepherd Northern Ireland’s notoriously bitter and volatile peace talks to an uncertain conclusion.

These three apparently disparate stories are connected by a series of remarkable women whose personal stories are caught up in the swells of history.

From the loughs of Ireland to the flatlands of Missouri and the windswept coast of Newfoundland, their journeys mirror the progress and shape of history. They each learn that even the most unassuming moments of grace have a way of rippling through time, space, and memory.

TransAtlantic is being lauded as a “profound meditation on identity and history in a wide world that grows somehow smaller and more wondrous with each passing year.

Colum McCann is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Let The Great World SpinZoli, Dancer, This Side of Brightness, and Songdogs, as well as two critically acclaimed story collections. His fiction has been published in thirty languages. He has been the recipient of many international honors, including the National Book Award, the International Dublin Impac Prize, a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government, election to the Irish arts academy, several European awards, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, and an Oscar nomination. A contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Paris Review, he teaches in the Hunter College MFA Creative Writing Program. He lives in New York City with his wife and their three children. Learn more about McCann and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Did any wonderful books arrive at YOUR house this week?



Sunday Salon – March 24, 2013

Sunday Salon

March 24, 2013

Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of The Sunday Salon. Visit the Facebook Page for links to other bloggers’ posts. Last week I missed the Salon, so this post will cover the last two weeks of reading.

First a reminder that we are discussing The Map of Time over at the Chunkster Challenge blog through the end of this month. There is also a signed book giveaway for The Map of the Sky running over there if you are interested in entering!

InOnePersonSince my last Salon post, I struggled to wade through John Irving’s In One Person – a book I had been looking forward to since I have loved other books by this author. But, sadly, I finally gave up on this one (read my thoughts). Not everyone shares my negative view of the novel, so don’t take my word for it. Have you read this book? If so, what did you think?

Luckily the next two books on my TBR pile have proved to be better for me.

behindthebeautifulforeversI finished reading Behind The Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (read my review) for a book club discussion which is currently ongoing at Bookies Too. This book really blew me away. It is non fiction, but reads like fiction – and it is sad, heartbreaking, disturbing and eye opening. Not an easy read at all, but one I am glad I took on. It makes me appreciate my life here in the United States and I am tempted to shove it into the hands of anyone who is complaining about our economy right now. This book is a reminder of just what poverty is all about.

SuspectJust yesterday I finished a suspense-thriller that I totally loved (read my review). Suspect by Robert Crais is about a working German Shepherd named Maggie and her handler Scott, an LAPD cop. The novel is fast-paced, but it is also a really wonderful story about the healing power of of the animal-human relationship. I loved, loved, loved Maggie – she reminded me SO much of my wonderful Caribou who I still miss even after more than four years after she slipped over the Rainbow Bridge. If you love dogs and if you love suspense-thrillers – don’t miss this one!

GoneGirlLast night I started reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn which is next in the line up over at Bookies Too. This novel has been getting lots and lots of buzz, and I hope it does not disappoint me! If it is even half as good as the blurb on the front sleeve, I think I will be reading it very quickly. Have you read this one yet? If so, did you love it?

I hope to get at least one more book read before the month fizzles out (maybe two if I’m lucky!)

One last thing I want to mention – the blog-o-sphere has been a-buzz with news that Google is terminating its Google Reader service effective July 1st. I wrote about the debacle here … but suffice it to say, I’m paring down my feeds and switching to Feedly while still keeping my options open. Is that sufficiently non-committal for you?

I hope you have a wonderful day – and a great week…and I hope that no matter what you are doing it involves a terrific book at some point!


Suspect – Book Review

SuspectA dog could see your heart in your eyes, Budress told him, and dogs were drawn to our hearts. – from Suspect –

LAPD cop Scott James is battling PTSD after a violent incident where his partner, Stephanie, was killed and Scott was seriously wounded. More than nine months have slipped by and the detectives assigned to crack the case have come up empty. Meanwhile, Scott has joined LAPD’s elite K9 squad, a position he may not be capable of filling given his frequent flashbacks, anger and an inability to let go of the guilt he feels every time he thinks of Stephanie.

Maggie is suffering from PTSD too – but hers is of the canine variety. After surviving three tours as a marine K9 in Iraq and Afghanistan, the dog is back in the United States after witnessing the sudden and violent death of her handler. Donated to the LAPD for evaluation, her chances at a come back as a police canine don’t look too promising – she reacts with fear when a gun is fired, and seems to have lost her heart for the work she was bred to do.

Scott and Maggie seem meant for each other. It isn’t long before both are plunged deeply into the murder investigation of Stephanie, but someone doesn’t want them to get any closer to the truth. What they discover together will either kill them both, or help them find their way back to the jobs they love.

Robert Crais has written a suspense-thriller with loads of heart. I was only 15 pages into the novel and found myself riveted…and crying. I have to confess, I am often put off by novels that feature working dogs. I almost always find errors or plot holes that don’t fit with my knowledge of what it is like to work a dog. So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself pulled convincingly into Suspect, a book which captivated me and kept me reading nearly non stop.

Crais clearly has done his research (although he offers an author’s note which explains some looseness with the “facts” for the sake of the story). I loved that he chose a female German Shepherd as the working K9 in the book. When I was working my dog in Search and Rescue, I was dismayed that so many law enforcement personnel thought the best dogs in police work had to be male…a belief I frequently argued against based on my female dog’s heart, drive, courage and intelligence.

Suspect is first and foremost a fast paced thriller. But it is also something a little more. Crais explores the after effects of violence on those in law enforcement – both human and dog. He also creates a love story of sorts between Scott and Maggie. Anyone who has ever opened their heart to a dog knows the power in that relationship.

There are sections in Suspect which are written solely from Maggie’s limited point of view – a technique that can quickly go awry if not done well. Crais clearly knows what it is like to live inside the brain of a dog and these parts of the novel were some of the best.

Suspect is a novel which will appeal to anyone who loves dogs or has worked a dog – but it will also reel in readers who love great characters and fast-paced writing. Alone, Scott and Maggie are just characters struggling to recover from trauma, but together they are a crime team with incredible heart who will win over readers.

Highly recommended.


FTC Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher for review on my blog.


Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Book Review

behindthebeautifulforeversIt seemed to him that in Annawadi, fortunes derived not just from what people did, or how well they did it, but from the accidents and catastrophes they dodged. A decent life was the train that hadn’t hit you, the slumlord you hadn’t offended, the malaria you hadn’t caught.  – from Behind the Beautiful Forevers –

Author Katherine Boo spent four years following the individual lives of people living in the Annawadi settlement – an Indian slum which sits near the Mumbai airport and in the shadow of opulent buildings where the wealthy regularly live their lives.

The airport people had erected tall, gleaming aluminum fences on the side of the slum that most drivers passed before turning into the international terminal. Drivers approaching the terminal from the other direction would see only a concrete wall covered with sunshine-yellow advertisement. The ads were for Italianate floor tiles, and the corporate slogan ran the wall’s length: BEAUTIFUL, FOREVER BEAUTIFUL, FOREVER BEAUTIFUL, FOREVER.  – from Behind The Beautiful Forevers, page 37 –

The contrast between the wealthy and the poor in India is stark and Boo’s wish was to document “the distribution of opportunity in a fast-changing country.” Does she do that? Yes. But she also examines the lives of women in poverty, the effect of corruption on disenfranchised people, the idea of justice and equality, the power of hope even when hope seems elusive, and the struggle to be “good” in the face of unrelenting, heartbreaking poverty.

Behind The Beautiful Forevers reads like a novel, and perhaps it would be easier to read it if one believed the “characters” between the pages were fictional rather than real. There is Abdul, a Muslim teenager whose organizational skills allow him to be one of the more successful garbage sorters in the community; and the politically savvy Asha, a forty year old mother who sells her body and bargains her morals to make a better life for her daughter; and Kalu, a teenager who flirts with drugs and steals scrap metal on his road to finding the “good life”; and Sunil, a boy who seems to have stopped growing while he battles rats, gangs of bigger boys, and fate while he searches for garbage to sell; and Meena, a young woman whose future is so bleak that death is more preferable; and finally Fatima, the “one leg,” whose spite costs her not only her very life, but the lives of her closest neighbors. There are others, of course, all battling to survive in a world we can only imagine and even then, we fall short.

Somehow in this book about desperation and poverty, Boo manages to carve out some hope between the pages. Sunil regularly climbs to the top of a roof four stories above the ground  where he enjoys the exhilarating vista of open space. It is here he watches the planes leave the ground and soar into the sky, where he can view the rich people arriving at and leaving the terminal. It is here, high above the reality of his world, where Sunil can imagine himself becoming “a middle something.”

Sunil thought that he, too, had a life. A bad life, certainly – the kind that could be ended as Kalu’s had been and then forgotten, because it made no difference to the people who lived in the overcity. But something he’d come to realize on the roof, leaning out, thinking about what would happen if he leaned too far, was that a boy’s life could still matter to himself. – from Behind the Beautiful Forevers, page 199 –

Katherine Boo’s remarkable book is sad. It is heartbreaking. It pulls the reader up short, has her gasping for breath as she immerses herself into the world of these survivors. Boo writes: “If the house is crooked and crumbling, and the land on which it sits uneven, is it possible to make anything lie straight?” And this is, perhaps, the central question posed in Behind The Beautiful Forevers. The world feels broken in the Annawadi slum, and yet the luminous lives of its inhabitants offer some hope for answers.

Katherine Boo offers us a glimpse into inequality and poverty. It is a personal glimpse, an unforgettable one. But it is not an isolated one. All over the world the disenfranchised struggle to not only survive, but to elevate their lives. They fight against government corruption, unfair justice systems, and cultures which divide rather than unite people. Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a reminder that a slum is not just a slum – it is a community of people just like ourselves only with less opportunity.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Katherine Boo snagged the National Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Behind the Beautiful Forevers. This is a powerful, must read book and one I highly recommend.



Mailbox Monday – March 18, 2013

MailboxSpringWelcome to this week’s Mailbox Monday and which is hosted by Caitlin at Chaotic Compendiums this month. Visit the dedicated blog for the meme to see the complete tour schedule in the right sidebar.

I found some good books in my mailbox this week:

BurgessBoysFrom the Library Thing Early Reviewer Program, I snagged The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout (Random House, March 2013). I loved Olive Kitteridge (read my review) and have wanted to read more books by this author. In The Burgess Boys, Strout introduces readers to Jim and Bob Burgess who are haunted by the freak accident in Maine that killed their father when they were children. Now living in New York City Jim is a successful corporate lawyer and Bob is a Legal Aid attorney. When their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home,  “the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.” Strout’s new novel is being described as a “tender, tough-minded, loving, and deeply illuminating [book] about the ties that bind us to family and home.

Elizabeth Strout is the author of the New York Times bestseller Olive Kitteridge, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; the national bestseller Abide with Me; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in London. She lives in Maine and New York City. Learn more about Strout and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Tuesday'sGOneI received a hard cover of Nicci French’s second book in the series of psychological thrillers featuring Frieda Klein: Tuesday’s Gone (Pamela Dorman Books, April 2013). You might remember that I read the first book in this series (Blue Monday) last year and really enjoyed it (read my review).  In Tuesday’s Gone, a London social worker makes a routine home visit only to discover her client, Michelle Doyce, serving afternoon tea to a naked, decomposing corpse. With no clues as to the dead man’s identity, Chief Inspector Karlsson again calls upon Frieda for help. She discovers that the body belongs to Robert Poole, con man extraordinaire. But Frieda can’t shake the feeling that the past isn’t done with her yet. Did someone kill Poole to embroil her in the investigation? And if so, is Frieda herself the next victim?

Nicci French is the husband and wife team of journalist Nicci Gerrard and writer Sean French. They write seamless novels while pursuing their own writing careers, and raising a family of four young children in Suffolk. Their novels include The Memory Game, The Safe House, Killing Me Softly, Beneath the Skin, The Red Room and Losing You. Learn more about Gerrard and French by visiting the authors’ website.

EvilThe good people at Tor Forge sent me a hardcover edition of Evil In All Disguises by Hilary Davidson (March 2013). When travel writer Lily Moore joins a group of journalists for an all-expenses-paid press junket to Acapulco, Mexico, she expects sun, sand, and margaritas. Instead, she finds that the Mexican city is a place of faded glamour and rising crime. Skye McDermott, another journalist on the trip, asks Lily for help with an article she’s working on about fraud and corruption in the hotel industry. When Skye disappears suddenly, Lily suspects that her friend is in grave danger. But the hotel’s staff insists that everything is fine and refuses to contact the police. Only after Lily tries—and fails—to leave the Hotel Cerón does she discover the truth: the journalists are prisoners in a gilded cage.

Smoothly sinister characters and a creepy Poe-like atmosphere keep the pages turning.”—Publishers Weekly on Evil in All Its Disguises

Hilary Davidson’s debut novel, The Damage Done, won the 2011 Anthony Award for Best First Novel, and the Crimespree Award for Best First Novel. The book was also a finalist for a Macavity Award and an Arthur Ellis Award. The second book in the series, The Next One To Fall, was published in February 2012. Evil in All Its Disguises is the third book featuring protagonist Lily Moore. Davidson’s acclaimed, award-winning short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Thuglit, Beat to a Pulp, and Crimespree, among others. Her work has been featured in many anthologies. Davidson has served as an At-Large Director on the National Board of the Mystery Writers of America since January 2012. She is also on the board of MWA’s New York Chapter. Learn more about Davidson and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Did any wonderful books arrive at YOUR home this week?



Google Reader Going Away – But, I Hope You’ll Stay


Like half the blog-o-sphere, I gaped in disbelief when I read that Google is planning to discontinue its feed reader service beginning July 1st. After denial, there was, predictably, anger. I’ve been subscribing to blogs through Google Reader ever since I started blogging and the last thing I wanted to do was spend hours looking for a replacement RSS feeder.

But, alas, change keeps on coming despite me digging in my heels and hoping everything will stay the same.

FrustrationI’ve spent the last couple of days researching new feed readers and have pretty much decided that the best thing to do is to re-activate my subscription to Feedly. It is not the perfect system (I hate being forced to open each article separately in order to read the post), but it seems to be the easiest one to transition to for now. Feedly promises its users that the transition from Google Reader to Feedly will be “seamless” on July 1st. And it is very simple to copy your current subscriptions to the Feedly home page (it even remembers your folders – yay!). I figure that I can go this route for now and always change to another system down the road if I want to do so.

I currently have 455 subscribers to my blog through Google Reader and it scares me just a little that come July 1st all those subscribers will disappear because it is too time consuming or confusing to re-subscribe through another feed reader. I hope you’ll stick around and find a service that works for you rather than stop reading my blog! If you are like me – completely overwhelmed – then I would suggest simply opening an account with Feedly. Google Reader and Feedly are currently “connected”…meaning that if you decide you want to continue with Google Reader right up until the last minute, no problems – everything you do on Google Reader neatly syncs over to Feedly and vice versa.

You can also check out other options here.

Today I went through all my subscriptions and deleted those which had not posted anything in the last 3 months…and also those who only show an abbreviated feed. The ruthless culling will probably continue in the coming months. But for now – I’m exhausted.

Oh, by the way, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A Rare DNF – In One Person

InOnePersonWe are formed by what we desire. In less than a minute of excited, secretive longing, I desired to become a writer and to have sex with Miss Frost – not necessarily in that order. – from In One Person

The book jacket describes John Irving’s newest novel this way:

A compelling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love – tormented, funny, and affecting – and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences.

The main character is Billy and his story begins as a young boy and spans more than 50 years in the book. As with all Irving novels, this one begins with an introduction to multiple quirky characters who are struggling with their identity. Irving’s narrative shifts back and forth in time in a nonlinear fashion, but remains seated in Billy’s limited first person point of view.

I wanted to love this novel because I am a huge John Irving fan. I have been reading Irving’s novels for years and have loved almost every book he has written, including Cider House Rules, The World According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire, A Prayer for Owen Meany (read my review), and Last Night in Twisted River (read my review). Reading Irving novels always takes a bit of patience due to his signature meandering style – but, patience is usually rewarded with rich characters, surprise plot twists, humor, and a clarity of insight into the human condition.

I started reading In One Person on March 5th, and only managed to get through 140 pages ten days later. I am having a hard time putting my finger on what did not work for me. I found my mind wandering. I felt disconnected to Billy, whose voice began to grow tedious to me. I kept coming back to the book because I wanted to love it; I wanted to find the magic which I often find in John Irving novels. But it was not happening…and so I did something I rarely ever do: I closed the book and decided not to finish it.

Don’t just take my word for it – check out some other reviews of this book:

Walking on the Moon

Between the Covers

Library Thing reviews (30 reviews in one place)

Have you read and reviewed this book? Please leave me a link to your review in the comments and I’ll add it to the links above.

Because I did not finish the book, I am not rating it.



Mailbox Monday – March 11, 2013

MailboxSpringWelcome to this week’s Mailbox Monday and which is hosted by Caitlin at Chaotic Compendiums this month. Visit the dedicated blog for the meme to see the complete tour schedule in the right sidebar.

I had another good week in books.

GardenOfStoneHub City Press sent me In the Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve (May 2013) for a TLC Book Tour in May. The novel opens in 1024 shortly before daybreak in War, West Virginia. A passing train derails and spills an avalanche of coal over sixteen-year-old Emma Palmisano’s house, trapping her sleeping family inside. Emma awakes in total darkness, to the voice of a railroad man, Caleb Sypher, who is digging her out from the suffocating coal. Though she knows little else about this railroad man, Emma marries him a week later, and Caleb delivers her from the gritty coal camp to thirty-four acres of pristine Virginia mountain farmland. Winner of the South Carolina First Novel Prize in 2012, In the Garden of Stone is “a multi-generational tale about the nature of power and pride, love and loss, and how one impoverished family withstands estrangement from their land and each other in order to unearth the rich seams of forgiveness. Bleak, harrowing, and beautifully told, In the Garden of Stone, is a haunting saga of endurance and redemption.

Susan Tekulve’s nonfiction, short stories and essays have appeared in journals such as Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, The Georgia Review, Connecticut Review, and Shenandoah. Her story collection, My Mother’s War Stories, received the 2004 Winnow Press fiction prize. Author of Savage Pilgrims, a story collection (Serving House Books, 2009), she has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Scholarship and teaches writing at Converse College. Learn more about Tekulve and her work by visiting the author’s website.

DarkTideHarper Collins sent me Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes (March 2013). I was excited to get this one since I read Haynes’ debut novel Into the Darkest Corner and enjoyed it (read my review). In her second book, Haynes once again gives readers a hard working female character who gets into trouble. Alternating between two parallel plot lines, the book promises a narrative that is “both mysterious and addictive.” Genevieve has left her sales job and is now working weekends as a dancer at a gentlemen’s club, but when a body washes up beside her houseboat, Genevieve’s life is turned upside down. The victim is a fellow dancer from the club, and it now seems that Genevieve’s life may also be at risk.

Elizabeth Haynes studied English, German and Art History at Leichester University. She is a police intelligence analyst and began writing fiction in 2006 when she took part in Nanowrimo. She lives in Maidston, Kent with her husband and son. Her first novel, Into the Darkest Corner, was named Amazon UK’s Best Book of the Year 2011 and film rights have been sold to Revolution Films. Learn more about Haynes and her work by visiting the author’s website.

LoveRehabThe lovely Libby Jordan sent me a paper edition of the ARE for the e-book Love Rehab: A Novel in Twelve Steps by Jo Piazza (Open Road Media, June 2013). From the publisher:

Cyber-stalking, drive-bys, drunken text messaging, creating fake email accounts—you’re gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to love.

Sophie isn’t dealing with her breakup well. Dumped by her boyfriend, Eric, for his sexting, D-cupped, young Floozy McSecretary, Sophie leaves Manhattan and lands back in her hometown, crushed and pajama-bound, blaming herself and begging her ex for a second chance. But when her best friend, Annie, gets in trouble for driving drunk and is forced to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, something clicks in Sophie’s strung-out mind. Women need love rehab, she realizes, to help fix the craziness that comes along with falling for someone. If you start it, they will come. When she opens up her home to the obsessed and lovelorn, Sophie finds a way to help women out there who have overdosed on the wrong men—and she saves herself in the process.

Love is a drug and the only things that can save us are the steps, rules, and one another. Step one: Admit you have a problem, and keep the hell away from Facebook.

Jo Piazza began her career as staff writer at the New York Daily News after receiving a degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Beast and Slate. Jo has also appeared as a commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR.

DeepDownTor Forge sent me Deep Down by Deborah Coates (March 2013) which is the sequel to Wide Open, Coates’ debut novel. This novel fits into the fantasy/paranormal/thriller genre and once again features Hallie Michaels who has now left the army after solving her sister’s murder. “Her relationship with deputy Boyd Davies is tentative, there’s still distance between her and her father, and she needs a job. The good news is, she hasn’t seen a ghost in weeks.” But when a neighbor begins being stalked by black dogs who are creatures from the underworld and harbingers of death, all that changes. “Stalked by a reaper and plagued by dark visions, Hallie finds she must face her fears and travel into Death’s own realm to save those she most loves.

Deborah Coates lives in Ames, Iowa, and works for Iowa State University. Her short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s and Strange Horizons, as well as Year’s Best Fantasy 6, Best Paranormal Romance, and Best American Fantasy. Learn more about Coates and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Did any amazing books arrive at YOUR house this week?

Sunday Salon – March 10, 2013

Sunday SalonMarch 10, 2013

Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of The Sunday Salon. Visit the Facebook Page for links to other bloggers’ posts. Last week I missed the Salon, so this post will cover the last two weeks of reading.

MussellFeast  WhyCantIBeYou

I posted a review of The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke (translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch) which is a very thoughtful book. A metaphorical story anchored in history, this one will appeal to literary fiction lovers.

I also blew through Allie Larkin’s new book, Why Can’t I Be You (read my review) which I really enjoyed. Larkin really captures the essence of friendship and her characters feel like real people. Readers of women’s fiction will want to put this one on their “to be read” stack.

EndOfThePointLast week I finished reading The End of The Point by Elizabeth Graver for a TLC Book Tour (read my review). Graver’s book is set on the Massachusetts coast and spans more than fifty years as it follows the members of one family. I found the book to be a quiet book which explored growing up, family legacy, parenting, and the power of place. This book is being toured through the first part of April and you can find other reviews of it by visiting the tour page and clicking through the links.

InOnePersonMy current read is one I’ve been looking forward to – but it is taking me a little time to really fall into the story.  In One Person is the newest novel by John Irving – an author who is definitely one of my long time favorites. I’ve loved so many of his books and have learned to be patient as he weaves his convoluted way through a novel, introducing multiple characters and building his story. Central to this novel is Billy, a bisexual man. The book opens with Billy as an adolescent who is struggling to understand his sexual identity. I am about a quarter of the way into the book, so I can’t tell you much more than that…but Bookies Too is discussing In One Person right now if you are curious about other readers’ thoughts.

I hope you’ll drop by the Chunkster Challenge blog tomorrow when I’ll be posting a give away for The Map of the Sky by Felix Palma…as well as the discussion post for The Map of Time. We’ll be discussing The Map of Time for the rest of the month, so it is not too late to grab a copy and get it read. Those who participate in the discussion will get an extra chance to win Palma’s second book int the series.

Today I’m planning on reading a bit, but I am also working on a new quilt – one which I am loving so much. I’m using Bonnie and Camille’s Vintage Modern fabric and Camille’s pattern Flower Girl. This one will have a narrow white sashing with cornerstones between each block. Here is a sneak preview:


I hope you have a wonderful day and a fantastic week ahead. Oh, and did you remember to spring forward last night?!??!