Book Review – Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

BLURB: The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisher—she of the gray-green eyes and diamant garters—is tiring of polite conversations with retired colonels and dances with weak-chinned men. When the opportunity presents itself, Phryne decides it might be amusing to try her hand at becoming a lady detective in Australia. Immediately upon settling into Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor, Phryne finds herself embroiled in mystery. From poisoned wives and cocaine smuggling, to police corruption and rampant communism—not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse—Cocaine Blues charts a crescendo of steamy intrigue, culminating in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.

MY THOUGHTS: I actually didn’t read this one. Unlike my normal “new to me” author process, I listened on Audible & thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve been watching the Australian adaptation on TV as I stitch, and that is very, very close to the author’s original. I am impressed!

If you like the cozy or gentle mystery or crime read, or you’re in to early Australian history, give this a try.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41022009-cocaine-blues

WIP Wednesday #264

Hello everyone! If you follow my IG, or know me IRL, you’ll know that this week has been a bit off. Hence putting the minced garlic in the dishwasher…

Stitching wise, I’ve done something every day this month. Quite a bit was done en route or at Hospice visiting Mum, or this week at hospital again with Mum. She only managed three days at home sadly. And right now we don’t know what the immediate future will be. But it is exhausting.

I want to save the two finishes for WIPocalypse, so here’s my WIP. Elizabeth Foster designed Antique Celtic Sampler, which I’m stitching with the recommended Weeks Dye Works threads, but on my own Mottled Frost lugana (Mum chose this). Despite stitching each cross as I go, it’s still quick.

Well, it would be quick if I didn’t keep miscounting!

Cross Stitch for Australia – bookmark as we keep adding new offers!

There’s plenty of charts, art & other goodies you can purchase in exchange for a donation towards the Fire Service, rebuilding, animal hospitals & the other great people helping out over the Ditch – or the Tasman Sea, if you’re not from Down Under or Godzone. Of course, New Zealand is Godzone!

I have a couple of Fiddlesticks charts already, so I knew the quality would be excellent. https://www.etsy.com/nz/listing/753142836/koala-australian-bushfire-appeal-modern

I also purchased (& intend to stitch) Hands Across the Sea Sampler. There’s a lovely story about her on the site. https://hands-across-the-sea-samplers.com/

Linen & Threads have another wee koala on their site: https://linenandthreads.com/the-blackberry-rabbit-a-ray-of-hope-australian-bushfire-appeal-for-the-port-macquarie-koala-hospital?fbclid=IwAR0IucLcUGb03Z9_ibtfBWMIhZuFoG9cGlF4mxzqZoUoYvAA0ylevBOh80I

Frosted Pumpkin have another wee one: https://www.thefrostedpumpkinstitchery.com/collections/new/products/with-love-pdf-cross-stitch-pattern

If you’re into Tribal, or Roo’s, what about the one at Mo’s Sale (take a look at her threads too!) https://www.mos-sale.com/product-page/tribal-kangaroo-2020

Or Mo also has a Koala(thanks Brenda D from Stitch Maynia for this link) https://www.mos-sale.com/product-page/the-joshua-koala

Leone let me know about this one – Sassy Jack’s are making a donation for every finish shared to their site, IG etc. Details are on their site & the download is free: https://www.sassyjacksstitchery.com/

Gina from Stitch Maynia found this cutie! https://www.caterpillarcrossstitch.com/collections/best-sellers/products/koala-needle-minder definitely on my buy now list.

Cayleigh from KB Fine Threads on Etsy is donating a portion of her Australian patterns to the Country Fire Service. https://etsy.me/2FFYMFB thanks Wendy for the update!

Aw man, this one is super cute! Another suggestion from Brenda D, this one is on etsy also.https://www.etsy.com/nz/listing/768512213/steve-irwin-inspired-cross-stitch

Wendyfrom Stitch Maynia found two more today (January 14th). This wee cutie from Tiny Modernist https://www.tinymodernist.com/products/aussie-buddies?fbclid=IwAR2VBxzidzu9BhSeHkNhrL5323aMy-05e1LZU8m3LIeelzp6kl0AmReQ8jU

And the ginormous Heaven & Earth Designs contribution. https://heavenandearthdesigns.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2070_2117&products_id=28464&fbclid=IwAR36jC7BhEMAtaIMBNJvnefnYqhRbSDnC-kO6O5YtDp3SUzA67fbDM_wDJI

There’s plenty more, including the wonderful Celeste Barber fundraiser. Please add your links in the comments!

January 2020 WIPocalypse & Intro

Hello everyone! This is my sixth year of WIPocalypse. It’s the most committed I’ve been to any SAL & I put that down to the pressure free, encouraging environment that Melissa hosts. If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers!

If you’ve not read from my blog before, I’m in my mid-40’s, a working mum to four (ranging from 25-10. I am book-mad, often found stitching & listening to podcasts or audiobooks, and I’m working more in my garden than ever before. We own our home near the base of Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges & can often be found working on it (new deck, gardens & a swim spa were added this summer) walking on the beach or in one of the many beautiful parks Auckland boasts. I’ve been hand stitching since before I was 10, can’t knit an even scarf or crochet to save myself and don’t often pull my machine out (not at all in 2019!!).

I didn’t do a December catch-up so here goes:

December Goals:

  • Keep up with weekly #magicalstitches homework YES
  • Plan January WIPs YES
  • No Spend! EH, NO

With Magical Stitches now finished, I stitched 5439 stitched in December, bringing my annual total to 77051 stitches (which I am certainly NOT counting in 2020!). Most of this was on Shakespeares Fairies, as this is my current favourite to work on, and is now about 2/3 complete after 12 months. I finished the year so far in the red for Stitch from Stash that I am a little embarrassed in myself, and have unsubscribed from a number of emails. This is not necessarily a bad thing; we crafters could all do with less time on the electronic things but a bit of a wake up. My One Little Word for this year is “reset” – and I’m applying it to my crafting as well as thinking.

January Goals:

  • Complete the first panel of Jim Shore’s 12 Days (new start)
  • Complete 500 stitches in Fairy Idyll
  • Christmas Ornament FO
  • Disney Cloudsfactory item for Aurora FO

Year Long Goals:

  • Complete all panels of Jim Shore’s 12 Days
  • Complete Fairy Idyll (I bead as I go with this one)
  • Complete Mermaid of Atlantis (which honestly is just the beading to go)
  • Complete the stitching on Shakespeare’s Fairies
  • Complete Tapestry Cat (my oldest WIP).

Let’s see how I get on!

Book Review – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

For 2020, part of my “reset” is to read a decent (i.e. interesting, thought provoking) book a week. Any links will be non-affiliate, as always, and any thoughts are my own. If you’ve got a recommend, send it my way!

crawdads.jpgBLURB: For years, rumours of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

MY THOUGHTS: This is one that got a lot of hype when it first released, and was on several influencer’s book lists, including Reese Whitherspoon and my fav, Ali Edwards. I should have read it then, but last year I was going for escapism and easy reads. There are some unrealistic aspects to this tale but it is beautifully written and the characters are well thought out and come alive on the page. I was gripped during the middle portion and blown away at the end – it wasn’t what I expected. 5 stars.

If you are thinking about picking this one up, Amazon have an extract on their US page HERE:

WIP Wednesday #263

Hello everyone! Another week down, and as I write this, only a few more working days until a decent break. I need it; I nearly ripped my boss a new one Monday. Twice. Eep.

Last night we went to 7 Days Live. 7 Days is a weekly panel show of comedians who take the mick out of the current events but because this wasn’t a filming episode, there were no holds barred (I’ve been at a previous live show where the stage director came screaming onto the floor as Legal were vetoing one line of piss-taking). The opening half was individual stand-up and I was crying with laughter. My cheeks still hurt this morning!

Stitching wise I kept to the homework prompts. I managed a couple of EC credits but I am really looking forward to not being part of a SAL in 2020, and getting some finishes under my belt. I’ve changed my mind a few times about what my focus next year will be, and I really want a Teresa Wentzler finish – which means the border in Tapestry Cat and the last few hundred stitches in the cat. That’s also my oldest WIP, as it was my Christmas present to myself in December 2006. I think I might work in Big WIP/small WIP weekly rotation…oh goodness only knows. The “screaming” rotation doesn’t work for me, as sometimes what is screaming is a new start and I need one of those like a hole in the head.

Anyways, have a lovely week, don’t get too stressed about Christmas day activities, enjoy some time away from work pressures and I’ll talk to you sometime over the break. Here’s a “summer” shot for you – Mase the Ace enjoying a swim in the pouring rain yesterday afternoon. Kids!

Book Review – A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

madness.jpgBLURB: On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates.

That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement not to look back. But they can’t run from the past forever.

Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.

It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.

MY THOUGHTS: Nalini has been a must-buy for me for a while now, with the exception of her Archangel series. When she revealed that she was moving into a suspense genre, I was pumped to read it and pre-ordered as soon as it was available (note Nalini, I STILL hate a Tuesday release. Especially when I couldn’t take the day off. Please talk to your publishers about that one!).

Initially my thoughts were that the overall format was like a Nora Roberts suspense (thinking of 2016’s The Obsession) but there are solid reasons for picking this one up over a recent Nora. It’s well-crafted and the characters are more than one dimensional right from the start. I loved the pacing and flow, and at no point did I think this was either rushing me or wasting my time.

There’s several possibilities as to whom the killer is, and each one is very plausible. There’s other spooky stuff going on in the background – alcohol, abuse, lying – all the things you find in any community. I’ve read one review which was indignant that Singh didn’t re-phrase this book in “woke” terminology and had everyone learn from their mistakes – oh whatever. We all know someone who relies upon other’s view of themselves as gospel. We all know someone who has p*ssed their life away for whatever reason and is angry about it, but doesn’t change. We all know someone who relies on an artificial product (alcohol, drugs, shopping, gossip) to bleed away any pain they might have. We all know someone who focuses on a trait & choses partners based on that, be it physical or emotional. And that makes the characters real, IMO.

This gets a solid 4.5 stars from me & I’ll be buying copies for Christmas presents. Can’t get much better than that!

AUTHOR SITE: https://nalinisingh.blogspot.com/