Book Review: Royal Blood


Royal Blood is the 4th in Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness series, a string of historical cozy mysteries set between World War I and World War II that don’t take themselves too seriously. I guess cozy mysteries usually don’t, at least not anymore. I’m still a bit confused as to why Agatha Christie is so often classed as a cozy mystery author, as I definitely get chill bumps from more than a few of her books! Anyway. These are typically well researched regarding historical accuracy, which is a large part of their charm.

I like the time period of these little novels, and the fact that they’re set in England. Georgie is an amusing, endearing heroine and the rest of the cast of characters surrounding her is original and quirky enough to keep me reading. I like that the family storyline moves along just a little in each book so far, not hitting you with it all of once. It continues the line of being very tame with lots of dropped hints and some innuendo, but nothing your 13 year old couldn’t read. It’s definitely written for adults, it’s just very mild and nothing at all racy even though there are repeated allusions to people’s sexual activity or preferences. I felt like Georgia’s relationship with Darcy progressed a little in this book, and more than just the heart-fluttering romance of it – I feel like they are getting closer as people, not just as a crush or an obsession.

This one moved slower than the other 3 that I’ve read. The actual crime event didn’t take place until page 142 (out of 305). The mystery part was, I thought, very far-fetched. The ending was rushed and contrived, just way too convenient. I did some serious eye-rolling. I did like the way all the creepy, “Transylvania” vibes everyone was so jumpy about, were explained logically. Given the setting, I was a little afraid that this one was going to descend into the paranormal. Nothing wrong with paranormal, but in a historical mystery…please spare me. So yay, that was good.

Overall, 3/5 stars. It needed more mystery, less build-up. Also a more satisfactory ending rather than just a sudden explanation, which was what it felt like. I’m definitely going to continue on with the series, but that’s because of how much I enjoyed the previous books, not this one.

Swapping Stuffs

I started doing some swaps on Swap-bot again, after a long absence of ANY kind of swapping. I’ve received some postcards (yay for my collection…still at home…sigh), and then this week I got some awesome packages of notecards and stationery stuffs! I’m slowly building up to bigger swaps (as most of them have requirement of completing smaller ones before you’re allowed to participate). Here are some pics…most of the swappers I’ve experienced have been lovely, generous people that sent awesome stuff.

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A beautiful collection of notecards from Debbie as part of the Note Card Lovers swap . I really want to know where she found some of these!

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An awesome postcard, delicious tea, and beautiful papers from Cindy in the Pick 3 Things swap. And look at the amazing handmade card she sent! I wish I was that creative.


Then my other package from the Note Card Lovers Swap arrived today! From Charlie. Owls are my favorite, and I love the colors in the square cards. The card on the right was made from an old book.

I’m trying my hand at ATCs, mostly through Zentangling. Here is the one Zentangle ATC I’ve received so far. Isn’t it pretty? I’ve stuck to patterns only on mine so far, not tried to make a picture of anything.

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These are the two ATCs I’ve made so far. Really simple, but I’ve had fun playing with watercolor paint (my first time ever) and different inks.

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Here are some of the packages and letters I’ve sent out, all ready to go on their journey! I hope the people getting my swaps are as happy with them as I’ve been about the ones I’ve received.



This is me, pretty much all the time lately. About everything. I’m struggling with feeling guilty again. About…everything. I’m not sure why. I feel like something must have caused it, but I’m not sure what, unless it’s just the stress of new job/new place/new life. But usually that would make me happy, so…I don’t know.

Anyone, tonight my back was aching and felt like a stretch would do some good. I was sitting eating dinner and thinking about the Pilates classes I used to attend, how much I missed them and what good some of the moves would probably do my back. Then I got the idea to look at YouTube for some Pilates videos…long story short, I stumbled onto Fightmaster Yoga. And for the first time in a long time, I’m feeling reasonably inspired to get off my ass. Leslie has a Yoga Fix 90 series that….well…feels doable and challenging at the same time. I have more time on my hands than I know what to do with right now. I can only write so many letters and stitch so long before my twitchy self loses patience. I’m seriously considering trying to make this 90 day challenge my new thing. I’m not sure if trying 90 days in a row is a good idea, because knowing me, something will distract me partway through and if my goal was 90 in a row I’ll be devastated at missing a day. On the other hand, most of the workouts are less than 45 minutes. And it’s yoga. Yoga is amazing, unlike most other forms of working out, which are usually just disguised torture.

Hmm. Hmm, hmm, hmm. I want to measure and plan, but on the other hand, some part of me says I should just jump in. But, I don’t have a mat! I want a journal to record each day! I need a motivation image! I…I just need to do something.

Toxic People

Some people just can’t feel good about themselves without putting someone else down. I am genuinely sorry that their world is so small and that they are so insecure in it that they find it impossible to be positive or kind to others. I hope that you felt at least a bit more secure for putting me down today, that you found it just a bit more tolerable to live in your fragile little world. I wouldn’t trade places with you for love or money. I live in the sunshine, and you’re not big enough to cloud my sky.

Oh, and next time, I’m not going to just bite my tongue and shrug. FYI.


I’m taking my baby in to see the vet this morning. I really have a bad feeling about this time. He’s not himself, has (yet another) ear infection, can’t keep any food inside of him, and since Sunday has had a slight cough (first attributed to almost choking on something). He had little to no interest in a tennis ball on Monday, which is beyond a major red flag.

Send some positive thoughts our way if you think of it.


Monday Jitters

I have an interview for a new position at work this morning, and thus have a bad case of the jitters. No doubt compounded by the fact that I’m trying NOT to get sick (sore throat, headache since yesterday) – or more likely, that allergies have arrived yet again. I tried to sleep in this morning, but it didn’t work very well so I hauled myself out of bed and proceeded to down a dose of Dayquil, Tylenal, and copious amounts of echinacea tea. After almost two hours the headache was still lingering, and since it was approaching the 24-hour mark I decided some caffeine might be in order. One cup of coffee and half an hour later, the headache is gone but now I’m doubly jittery about the interview…so I’m going to write about something else now.

Like this beautiful tree/bush I’ve been in love with for the past several weeks, ever since it started blooming. However, no one could identify it for me! I finally discovered it’s a crepe myrtle by wandering around the garden section of Lowe’s. The name is VERY familiar and I feel like I should have been able to identify it myself, but oh well. πŸ˜›

Also this quilt I’ve been trying to finish for ages. Am I the only one who feels like unfinished projects are a real energy or creativity drain? This top was made in a machine-piecing class I took when I was 16. That’s…quite a few years ago. Right after that I discovered my sewing machine, while able to piece just fine, was not really capable of machine quilting. I decided to hand quilt it, didn’t listen to my grandmother’s advice about choosing a simpler motif for the large blocks (I picked echo hearts…ugh), and now, some years later, just want the damn thing to be finished. It is over half done, but I’m just tired of it. Tired of the colors, tired of hearts, just…blah. It’s pretty enough, I suppose, but I just want to do something new.

Which would explain why I’m enamored of this beautiful color collection and the idea of putting the jelly roll into a Pandora’s Box quilt or something similar. I totally love the owl faces in a couple of the fabrics. We’ll see how long this project takes, since I’m currently dependent on friends sharing their sewing machines. πŸ˜‰ Not to mention I have one other quilt top I need to quilt.

Yeah, more with the psychedelic colors. Actually, I bought the fabrics for this particular one with some of the money I received as high school graduation presents, and so made it in my school colors. Kind of over them as well, though. Hehe.

Almost interview time…wish me luck! And calm. πŸ™‚


Doesn’t even begin to describe it. Between the power outage from the massive summer storm that swept parts of the mideast and a ghastly stomach virus that had me believing I was going to die, the past couple weeks have been just a bit stressful. Though we weren’t affected nearly as badly as many people in our area (as of yesterday, friends of ours north of here were still without power more than a week later), especially as this week has been the hottest of the year so far. We gave up the battle and turned the air conditioning on completely. Dreading to see what THAT bill is going to be like but there was really nothing for it.

Maybe back later with a book update.

Happy Things

It’s definitely time for a happy things post. Just a few things that have made me smile, made me glad to be alive, or just generally relieved stress this past week (or weeks).

  • Pilates at Empower . The girls and I rock the Sunday afternoon class, and Erin and Katy (owner and instructor) just rock in general.
  • A beautiful little corridor of peas! These are brown now and need to be pulled out, but it was so pretty while it lasted.
  • Stuffs from Goulet Pens! Squee! New letterboxing logbook, new inks, and new stationery.
  • A full tank of gas, regardless of the price paid for it…but especially when it’s $2.95 a gallon! And yeah, apparently I need to dust.
  • Blooming bleeding heart – plant started from the one at my great-grandparents’ farm. I cried happy tears. πŸ™‚
  • Photos for scrapbooking finally arrived! Happy because I’m feeling creative enough to work on that again.
  • A full cup of coffee on a rainy morning.
  • Did I mention that it’s raining? I suspect I won’t be so happy about the humidity when the temps soar later this week, but it feels beautiful now and it’s good for the gardens. Don’t think you can see the rain in this pic, but you can feel it (despite the blurriness).

    Here’s to a happy week for all of you!