Sunday, July 24, 2011

Time for Summer Reading

My summer reading list has been growing by leaps and bounds the last couple of weeks. Many of my favorite authors have all released new titles this summer. I have already finished several books and have several more being read at the same time.

So far this summer, I have read (and thoroughly enjoyed!):

Summer Rental - Mary Kay Andrews. I love MK's books, especially the ones that come out in the summer. This quick, fun read takes place on the coast of North Carolina as three friends come together for a month long stay at the beach. What's a summer read without a little anguish, a little romance, and a little drama? I wanted to be at the beach everyday I was reading it.

007 - Carte Blanche - Jeffrey Deaver. I love all things 007! Jeffrey Deaver was chosen by Ian Fleming Publications to write this new James Bond novel. He does a very respectable job. It has all the required elements of a Bond thriller. A handsome, suave James Bond, pretty girls with ridiculous names (Felicity Willing (oh please!)), evil and creepy villains, exciting locations, and lots of action. I loved every minute of this read.

Corduroy Mansions - Alexander McCall Smith. I will read anything Alexander McCall Smith writes. I have read all of the Ladies No.1 Detective Agency books and all of the Isabel Dalhousie series, not to mention the 44 Scotland Street series and the Portugese Irregular Verbs series. Corduroy Mansions give us humorous glimpses into the lives of the tenants of Corduroy Mansions in London. We meet a wine merchant and his grown son who won't leave home, a health food store manager, a secretary to a member of Parliament, a student hoping to snag a job at a prestigious auction house, and various friends and relatives of the tenants. Oh yes, and there is Freddie de la Hay, a Pimlico terrier. Freddie plays an important role in this book and becomes the star of the next book in the series, The Dog Who Came in from the Cold (I'm about halfway through this one).

At the moment, these are the other books being read or waiting to be read on the iPad:

Portrait of a Spy - Daniel Silva. I've read all of his Gabriel Allon books. Allon is a spy who is also an art restorer. Silva's novels are my favorite spy thrillers. I'm saving this one for when I have finished reading several that are in process right now.

The Help - Kathryn Stockett. I had put off reading this book for the longest time in fear that it would give a very skewed view of the South during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s. So far, I'm happy with what I have read. This novel examines the relationships between the white women who employ black women as household help in Jackson, Mississippi. The movie version of this book comes out in August.

State of Wonder - Ann Patchett. I loved Ann Patchett's bestseller, Bel Canto, so much many years ago. This novel is set in the deep, dark jungles of the Amazon where a research scientist for a pharmaceutical company tries to uncover the reasons behind the mysterious death of her colleague. It is a beautifully written adventure and I am taking my time as I read this one.

Against All Enemies - Tom Clancy. I have, for the most part, always enjoyed Tom Clancy books. Especially his earlier books. This one seems to harken back to those great Jack Ryan books of the 1990s.   Clancy introduces us to a new hero, Max Moore, an ex-Navy seal. The action starts immediately in the dark off the shore of Pakistan with the transfer of a Taliban prisoner and then immediately jumps to the drug cartels of Mexico and South America. Lots of action in this one and lots of governmental agencies to try and keep track of. I'll be reading this one for a while!

No Rest for the Dead - 20 Mystery and Thriller authors. This is a great collaboration of writers such as Sandra Brown, Jeffrey Deaver, Lisa Scottoline, and Alexander McCall Smith (just to name four of the authors). The mystery centers around the death of a curator at the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts. Each author writes a chapter. So far, so good. I think I'll enjoy this book.

With all of these books to read, there hasn't been a lot of stitching around here this week. Despite all of these books,  I did get a good bit done on the April Diamond Heritage ornament series. These ornaments stitch up so quickly. And, for the most part, I find that I don't need to use the floor stand. That's always nice! This is my progress so far this week -

Andrew and Anna came for a visit this weekend to help me celebrate my birthday this week. I love to see them arrive and always hate to see them go. Anna and I went shopping at our favorite local store, Cudos. They were having a fabulous Christmas in July sale yesterday. Anna found some incredible deals on some Christmas ornaments and I gave in to the temptation of a Mark Roberts garden lily elf.  Here he is in all his spring and summer glory.

I'm usually not one for the whimsical side of things but I have always loved Mark Roberts elves. I have two wonderful Christmas elves of his and always hate to put them away at the end of the Christmas holidays. I think this elf can remain out from the spring through the summer. The best part is that he was 1/2 price! This was my birthday gift to myself.

Speaking of birthday gifts, Andrew and Anna gave me this fabulous Dooney & Bourke leather bag and the red patent D & B wristlet. I absolutely love this turquoise bag! Andrew picked this out all by himself - didn't he do a great job? I immediately transferred everything out of my old bag and into this one. If I had bought myself a new purse, I would have gone with a "safe" color like brown or black. But, it's so fun to step out of my comfort zone and carry a turquoise bag.

My stitching friend Linda sent me a fun birthday surprise in the mail this week. I didn't get any pictures of it but you can see one of them in the photo of my ornament this week (the green magnet in the upper right). She sent me a set of magnetic paper clips that make a great needle holder. What a fun surprise - thanks, Linda!

I think we have all had a terrible time with the heat this past week. I hope the heat in your area breaks soon. Maybe we'll all get some rain soon to cool things off.

Stay cool and have a great week!


  1. Wow!!! your blog is full of great things. Thanks for the reading adventures. Will be looking into a few of these. Your ornaments are beautiful and look like a fun stitching time.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Andrew did good and I love your Elf. What a fun weekend. Thanks for sharing all your fun.

    Sue VanderNoor

  2. Hi Melinda,

    What a wonderful birthday! I love the bag Andrew and Anna gave. The color is great. Have fun using it. Enjoy your birthday tomorrow.

  3. Happy Birthday! How do you find time to work? Lots of good reads and wonderful needlepoint. I love the turquoise bag. I took a chance last fall on a pumpkin colored bag and haven't gone back to brown or black since. Love that punch of color. Can't wait to see the finished ornament.

    Stephanie Ashworth

  4. The April ornament is just gorgeous!