Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Day Sale!!

All Romance Ebooks is having a Labor Day Sale, and Bluebonnets for Elly is included. So if you've been thinking of reading my book, now's a good time to buy it.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Peace Arch - Saturday Snapshots

Peace Arch State Park is a unique 20-acre day-use park that lies on the boundary between the United States and Canada. The 67-foot Peace Arch monument sits on the border of the two nations at the 49th parallel. The arch was constructed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the treaties that were a result of the War of 1812 with Great Britain. This was the first structure in the world to celebrate lasting peace, planned and developed in conjunction with the Canadian Peace Arch Provincial Park. 

Almost a year ago, my nephew and his fiancé held their wedding at the gazebo in Peace Arch Park (on the U.S. side). The foggy day didn't dampen the ceremonies or the beautiful surroundings. Here are some photos I took of this lovely setting. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

The bride's and groom's families sat in chairs.
The rest of the guests gathered around behind them.
The officiant stood at the entrance to the gazebo,
and the bride and groom stood at the entrance,
flanked by their attendants.
The reception was held in this charming building,
called "The Kitchen"
Here's a sample of the surrounding landscaping.
And here's the Peace Arch.

Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.
To enjoy a variety of beautiful pictures from around the world, 
click HERE or on the box below. 

West Metro Mommy Reads

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Mermaid Garden - Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter/First Paragraph

The Mermaid Garden by Santa Montefiore is such an engrossing book! Montefiore tells two stories--one set in Tuscany in 1966, the other in Devon, England, in 2009--and they eventually come together in the end. The author's lovely descriptions make the scenes come alive (you can tell that from the beginning paragraph), and the characters have depth, each one with a unique voice. I believe this is the first book I've read where the author let me inside each character's head, so I had an idea where everyone was coming from. You'd think that would be confusing, but Montefiore handled it well. I recommend this book as a good read for anyone who enjoys a story with substance that spans decades.  

Prologue, Tuscany, 1966
The little girl stood outside the imposing black gates of Villa La Magdalena and peered up the drive. A long avenue of cypresses cut straight through the grounds, climaxing at the end in a tantalizing glimpse of a primrose-yellow palazzo. La Magdalena sat with the dignity and poise of a grand empress. Her tall, shuttered windows were an elegant teal green, her crown a decorative balustrade built along the top of the facade, her walls as resplendent as silk; she belonged to a world as enchanting and inaccessible as fairy tales.

Teaser (from Page 70 of trade paperback):
She was always neatly dressed, with crisp white shirts and slacks, or pretty dresses in summer, never jeans. Being short, she always wore heels to give her height. He felt paternal towards her, a feeling he relished, having never married or fathered children.

Genre: Women's Fiction / Saga
Length: 418 Pages (Trade Paperback)
Amazon Link: The Mermaid Garden
More From Santa Montefiore: Amazon Author Page


Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please! Here's the link: Should Be Reading

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Houseboats in Seattle - Saturday Snapshots

Everyone has seen the movie "Sleepless in Seattle," right? But maybe you haven't been to a houseboat neighborhood like the one where Tom Hanks and his on-screen son lived. Several years ago a friend visited me and asked if we could see the houseboats on Lake Union. So off we went! Here are my photos from our adventure.
(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Access to the homes is via ramps like this one or by boat.
Can you imagine walking out your back door and
hopping on a boat to go out to dinner?
View of the Lake Union houseboat community from the opposite shore.
Taken from a kayak on my one and only kayaking adventure on Lake Union.

    Photo of me, taken by my friend Gina, who took me
kayaking as a thank you for feeding her pets.

The houseboat community is on the east side of the lake, off of Fairview Ave E. -- those little rectangles jutting out into the water on the map.

Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.
To enjoy a variety of beautiful pictures from around the world, 
click HERE or on the box below. 

West Metro Mommy Reads

Friday, August 22, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Katie and The Irish Texan - Teaser Tuesday & First Chapter/First Paragraph

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, so when the synopsis for KATIE AND THE IRISH TEXAN said it took place in my hometown, I had to read it. This most recent sweet romance in The Texas Code Series (The McTiernans) is a delight. The characters are likable, believable, and true to the times (1870s), and the plot kept me engaged. I especially enjoyed the author’s reference to names and places familiar to me (the Trinity River, Sanger Brothers, etc.) as well as her inclusion of the sometimes crazy North Texas weather in the story. The author obviously knows her setting well, and I’m looking forward to reading more of her books.

Jefferson, Texas, April 1873
Dermot McTiernan downed his shot of whiskey, looked across the poker table at the Yankee Lieutenant, and glanced at his cards one last time. Certain the man was bluffing, he pulled out his pocket watch, his second most prized possession, and set it atop the pile of money. With a nod, he placed his cards on the table face up then met the man's gaze. "Call."

TEASER from 49% on my Kindle:
The sound of the rain was deafening making it impossible to whisper, but Kathleen cupped her hand around her mouth in an attempt to be heard. "Mrs. Benning is asking to see the doctor. Is there anyone we can send to fetch him without alarming her husband?

Genre: Western Romance
Length: 81 Pages (Novella)
Amazon Link: Katie and The Irish Texan
Other Books by Carra Copelin: Amazon Author Page

Synopsis from Amazon:
      Dermot McTiernan is determined to move on with his life after losing his one and only love to another man. He decides to try his hand at ranching in North Central Texas with his friend, Ian Benning. He figures if that doesn't work out, there are many other opportunities in the booming post-war state. When the luscious red-head from County Cork, Ireland shows up in Dallas, can he retain the courage of his convictions and move on without her? 
      Kathleen O'Donnell made a monumental mistake marrying, Kelsey Gilhooley. Her decision for entering the union, no matter how honorable, had made her life a living hell. Even though still married, she holds out hope for finding the man of her dreams. When she comes across her tall, dark-eyed Irishman in Dallas, Texas, will she be able to abandon happiness and walk away a second time? 


Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please! Here's the link: Should Be Reading

Friday, August 15, 2014

Saturday Snapshots - Pianos on Parade

When I received an email from Auburn City Hall, telling about an outdoor "Pianos on Parade" art installation, I grabbed my camera and hit the streets. Here's what I found. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

A tribute to street performers with a tip jar built in!
Inspired by a 1920s German silent horror film,
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Inspired by the view of Mount Rainier, the artist made
a torn paper collage to decorate this piano.
Share your own melodies by arranging magnetic
laser-cut wood musical notes on a metallic score,
then play what you find. 
A rain shower put a stop to my photography.
There were several other pianos that I didn't see. 
If you're curious about the other designs or would like to 
know more, here's a link: Auburn, Washington, "Pianos on Parade."
Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.
To enjoy a variety of beautiful pictures from around the world, 
click HERE or on the box below. 

West Metro Mommy Reads

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Made for Two - Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

Made for Two, a novella by Karen Lenfestey, is a quick and delightful read. It's the sweet story of a teacher who returns to her hometown and reconnects with an old boyfriend when her job is in jeopardy. But will events that have occurred since they last saw each other doom their relationship? Although the book is short, the reader gets to know the characters well, and the story is complete with a satisfying ending. This is the first book I've read by this author, but I'll definitely read others. 

Book Beginning:
Diane Solier's stomach churned as she made her way through the crowded Chicago Central student commons. Energy buzzed in the air like a shaken can of pop about to explode.

The Friday 56 (from 56% on my Kindle):
      As Diane crossed through the storefront, Kim stared at her with her arms crossed. "That's why I hate you."
      A lump formed in Diane's throat. She walked into the chilly air and softly closed the door behind her.

Genre: Romance
Length: 62 Pages
Amazon Link: Made for Two
Other Books by This Author: Karen Lenfestey Website

Synopsis from Karen Lenfestey's website:
      Diane acted on instinct when she broke up a fight at the inner-city school where she teaches. When the superintendent suspends her, Diane returns to her hometown of Foxworth. Almost immediately she finds herself tracking down her old boyfriend, Tim. Just seeing him rekindles her love and she realizes that her life, just like her tandem bike, was made for two.
      Unfortunately, Tim keeps pushing her away, claiming it will never work out. After all, she still wants to live in the city and he can't imagine leaving his family's bakery. But Diane discovers there's more to it than that. Tim has been hiding in this small town because he has a secret.

Join every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

Grab a book and turn to Page 56 or 56% on your ereader
Find any sentence (or a few, just no spoilers) and grab them.
Post them and add your URL to the Linky.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Where or When - Teaser Tuesday

I'm about halfway through this book, and I'm enjoying Anita Shreve's writing. She spends a lot of time examining the thoughts and actions of her characters, which means the plot is definitely slow-moving. But it also means that I get to know and care about the characters and want (no, NEED) to find out how the story ends. I will admit, however, that I've read many books by this author, and although I'm enjoying this story, it is not one of my favorites. (Copyright date is 1993.) 

Here's my two-sentence snippet from 
Page 69 (paperback copy).

He wondered, while he ate his sandwich at the bar of the inn, if he would know Siân Richards if she walked in now, if when their eyes met she would know him. He'd been replaying various scenarios for days, imagining their first encounter after thirty-one years.

Genre: Literary Fiction
Length: 240 Pages
Amazon Link: Where or When
Other Books by This Author: Anita Shreve's Amazon Author Page

Synopsis from Goodreads:
What would you do if out of the blue, you received a letter from your first love? Siân Richards sees no reason why she can't write back to Charles Callahan. After all, it's been thirty years and they are both married with families. But when they decide to meet again, an innocent correspondence becomes a dangerous intimacy. Swept up in the past and consumed by an obsessive love, Charles and Siân risk everything to be together. A heart-wrenching, suspenseful story with an unforgettable conclusion, Where or When is also a 'thoughtful, beautifully written contemporary romance' (The Washington Post).

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away -- you don't want to ruin the book for others)
  • Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers
  • Leave a comment on MizB's Teaser Tuesday post (HERE) and include your link so everyone can find your post.

Friday, August 8, 2014

More Mount Rainier, WA - Saturday Snapshots

Back to The Mountain! Last week my husband I spent a day at the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park. But there was so much more we wanted to see. So, this past Thursday we decided to go there again and visit the Sunrise area this time. That section of the park is much closer to our home, and for one reason or another, we hadn't been there in years. I'm so glad we went. (Click on photos to enlarge.) 
Welcome to Mount Rainier

As is often the case, Mt. Rainier's peak remained shrouded in
clouds all day. Lots of wildflowers were in bloom. (A future blog post?)
Hiking trails abound within the park's boundaries, some more
challenging than others. I took a rather easy trail that led from the 

visitor's center to this dramatic overlook. That drop-off is steeper 
than it seems! That little white squiggle in the upper right-hand corner
of the photo is part of the Sourdough Ridge Trail.

People enjoying the overlook shown in the previous photo.

Me, catching my breath.

We stopped at this scenic overlook on the way down from Sunrise.
Still can't see Mt. Rainier's top!

Same overlook as in the previous photo but we're looking a different
direction. That's the White River running across the middle of the
picture, and a road running diagonally up the mountain across
the way. (We're guessing it's Highway 410 to Paradise.)

We stopped at the White River Campground on the way back
down from Sunrise. Still can't see Mt. Rainier's top.
I took 62 pictures in all during our day on The Mountain! If you're curious about Mount Rainier and would like to see webcams of the area, click HERE.

Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.
To enjoy a variety of beautiful pictures from around the world, 
click HERE or on the box below. 

West Metro Mommy Reads