Sunday, July 23, 2023

Collecting Critters #2 -- Loricorn

I love collecting hand knitted Critters and today I thought I’d share one of my oldest critters, Loricorn.  Loricorn was made by one of my co-workers, Megan, who is incredibly talented with making critters.  The first critter she made me was “Puggie.”  (More on Puggie later.  He might be in an upcoming critter collection post.)


You might notice that Loricorn looks a lot like candy corn. I find people either like candy corn or they don’t, but candy corn makes a nice a little treat when you need a pick me up. Candy corn season usually starts in late August and runs through October. I usually get 2 or 3 bags from the local grocery store and make some snack size bags which I place on my console at work for my co-workers to stop by and pick up a bag when a sugar fix is required. 


While Loricorn looks like candy corn, she got her name from another co-worker  (Lori) who likes to make popcorn and share her popcorn with us.  Her popcorn is usually pretty good – it’s just movie theatre butter flavor and no one can turn down a bag, so I decided to name my little after my co-worker, hence, Loricorn.


Loricorn’s favorite season is the fall & winter and Megan has been gracious enough to make a couple of hats for Loricorn to keep her little head warm.  Loricorn also likes Christmas and getting gifts.  Lately, Loricorn has been hanging at the house, but August and candy corn season is just around the corner so she’ll be heading off to work to spread more good cheer. 


Question for you:  Candy corn – do you love it or hate it?




Christmas in Bayeux is now available on Amazon as a .99 ebook and has been featured in Bargin Booksy ads. 




Aiden is searching for that something he can’t define.  After spending time in Iraq and losing his parents, he travels to France looking for that undefined something to give meaning to his life. Aiden reconnects with the one that got away, Noelle Rousseau, and quickly discovers that having purpose has ignited his life in a way he never thought possible.


Noelle is trying to make ends meet. After giving up teaching to run a bed and breakfast, she’s learning that new challenges can be daunting, even with help from her friends.  When Aiden steps back into her life, she learns that trust is not only rewarding, but scary.


Aiden thrives as he helps Noelle prepare for the Christmas season, but can both of them learn to trust, hope, and believe that love will offer them a future if they can only dare to believe? 


EXCERPT (Aiden and Noelle meet):


He didn’t think he could come to Bayeux if Noelle wasn’t here. He parked the car. The clouds above suspended the snow. A couple milled past the church on the sidewalk. Bayeux was a quiet town. 

            Aiden allowed a small smile to escape the corners of his lips. Since he’d last seen her nine years ago, she had gotten taller. Her brown hair peeked out from her cap, flecked with copper highlights. Her cobalt eyes pierced his defenses now, just as they had before. He took a long breath.  Despite the heavy clothes, she was stunning.  He hadn’t anticipated that.

            Her eyes swept over him and then sparked with recognition. “Aiden!” 

            “Bonjour, Noelle!”

            She wrapped her arms around him and gave him a quick hug. “Bonjour!” 

            Her warm glow infused him, cracking a stiff battlement. Her genuine embrace filled him with a spark of a feeling, something other than numbness, but he had no word for the feeling. He took a step back and offered a small smile. “It’s good to see you, Noelle. You’ve changed…”

            “Oh, I was just a girl when I was an exchange student in your house.”

            “You were sixteen.”

            Her cheeks reddened. “Oui– now I am a woman. How are your parents?” 



Friday, July 21, 2023

Book Review: The Duke and I - 3 Stars

Book cover inspired the by Netflix Series

Book review for:


The Duke and I

Author: Julia Quinn

Published by: Avon Books, 2000

Overall rating: 3 Stars 




PLOT:  (3 Stars)


Daphne Bridgerton is a young lady in Regency England. The ton dictates society’s norms and it’s her turn to traverse the rumors and innuendos of the season along with Lady Whistledown’s gossip column.  Daphne is well liked, heck, she’s everyone friend, so when it comes to finding a potential mate, he’s got to be something special because ordinary won’t do.


Simon Basset is young, handsome, and the new Duke of Hastings upon his father’s death, only Simon never cared much for his father. In fact, Simon’s father abandoned him as a young boy when he discovered Simon had a stutter. Simon vowed to be opposite of his father – never to fall in love, never to marry, and never have children.


When Daphne and Simon meet, the incident is memorable for both. Friendship grows into attraction, but Daphne and Simon have opposite goals in life. Daphne wants to be married and have children.  Simon doesn’t want any of marriage and children. When the couple is caught by Daphne’s brother in a compromised position, will a forced marriage bring happiness or misery? 



CATAYLIST: (3 Stars)


I was shopping at Costco and found the book. I liked the blurb, but thought the cover was ‘off’ – and it was reading the cover that I discovered Netflix made a series out of the book.  The actress on the cover was ‘Daphne’ – she totally captured the character.  The actor on the cover seemed off for ‘Simon’ – oh, he was handsome, but as I read the book, and developed my own inner visual for Simon, I found the disconnect a bit disconcerting.  Still, I was intrigued enough to buy the book and read it. 


THOUGHTS: (3.5 Stars)


Daphne is easy to like. She’s honest, forthright, brave and knows her mind. Her family is easy to like, too – even Anthony, who can be a little rough, but it’s understandable why he is, and his love for his siblings always shines though.


Simon is the more complicated character. He’s had a hard time of it, having to overcome a stutter and the abandonment of his father. Simon hides his background and challenges well in society, but when confronted with uncharacteristic emotions, he buckles down on what he knows – avoidance.  Daphne brings out the best and worst in Simon as she challenges him to confront his complicated emotions. 


WHAT WORKS: (4 Stars)


The banter is witty. The plot moves at a nice clip until a certain scene. The characters are appealing.




I don’t mind sexually graphic scenes. The romance genre varies from sweet to heavy charged graphic scenes. There are such scenes here in this novel. However, there’s a point in the novel where Daphne has sex with a drunk Simon and he’s barely aware of his surroundings. He’s in no condition to really give his consent to the encounter. That said, Simon’s been firm about his wishes – he does not wish to have children. The scene ends with the opportunity for Daphne to conceive and yet, it’s not something that Simon wanted.  Simon’s character development is not fleshed out to the point in this novel, when this encounter happens, where he willingly consents to Daphne’s desires.  For me, a romance reader, consent is a must. Not drunken consent, not implied consent, consent given willingly and freely. 




I liked the setting, the time period, and the escapism of the novel. I liked Daphne as a heroine. I appreciated the complicated character that Simon was, I just didn’t think the author took the time to develop the character to the point where he was in an emotional place to share Daphne’s desires when he has drunken sex with her. 



Not at this time.  I love a good escapism series and Bridgerton could very well be that, but I appreciate more the realism of the escapism then the reimagining of it.  The series itself would stand much stronger on its own if it was its own world and not a reimagined world of the ton




As usually I do with a review, I download the cover and share it with the review.  Well, I discovered the book had more than one cover. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, as it had a different covers when published in 2000 ,and then as it was published throughout the world, it was given different covers.  


I thought it would be interesting to compare covers.  Which ones have more appeal and which ones have less.  I’d love to get your thoughts on it. 


Tuesday, July 4, 2023

4th of July 2023

Happy 247th Birthday to the USA.  Boy, that’s a lot of candles! 


It’s challenging birthday as well. Gas prices are up, Food prices are up.  Home prices are up. And there are more controversial topics as well, but this 4th I wanted to strike a patriotic note.  Yes, we live in challenging times and if we don’t stick up for the values the founding fathers fought for, we may loose some of those of those things that make America unique. That said,


If you love this country, own it. Be proud. Fly your flag. Sing those songs – God Bless America! Be proud of the patriots who have fought in past wars and the patriots now who fight for freedom. Never forget what makes this country special and step up. Never be afraid to say “God Bless America.” 


Fun Facts:


The 13 original colonies are:

New Hampshire



Rhode Island

New York

New Jersey





North Carolina

South Carolina



There were 2.5 million Americans in July 1776.


56 people signed the Declaration of Independence.


The first 4th of July parade was in Bristol, Rhode Island in 1785.


In 1941, the US Government declared the 4th of July a Federal holiday.


In 1776 Dunlap printing printed 200 copies of the Declaration of Independence Only 26 remain. 


Blue Fireworks are the hardest to make because the balance in chemicals has to be just right. 



This Independence day is low-key for me.  We’re heading out to Ventura to enjoy a picnic dinner before watching the fireworks at the college.  


Past traditions including visit Catalina Island and watching the 4th of July golf cart parade and the USC Marching band. Baking a blueberry pie and decorating it like a flag has been something we’ve done before. Buying 4th of July flowers and flying the flag has been something we’ve done.  We’ve visited Pismo Beach and Cayucos California because there’s nothing like fireworks over the coast. One year, we went to see a Dodger Game on the 4th. In 2021 we traveled to New Hampshire and had a warmhearted friends & family get together complete with BBQ and pie! 


How do you spend your 4th


From the Declaration of Independence:


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 





From my Summer 4th of July story, Arrow Through the Heart 




Summer vacation and the Fourth of July brings Ella to New Hampshire while participating in a tennis competition. Logan is an innkeeper's son who bumps into Ella and invites her for an ice cream. Attraction flares and they enjoy spending time together, but each has their own plans for their life. Then disaster strikes Ella. Can a summer attraction truly become a lasting relationship?



They finished their meal and he collected their trash. Glancing at his watch, he discovered it was eight-thirty. Logan frowned, knowing he had to leave.


"Thank you again for everything. I had a nice day, despite finding my room trashed." The corners of Ella's lips tipped upward.


God, that smile was like an arrow through his heart.


"I had a nice day, too." He paused, looked away for a second, suddenly nervous, then back at Ella. "I'm busy tomorrow at the inn, but I plan on watching your meet." 


"You don't have to, if you're busy—"


"I want to." He drew in a breath. "Maybe we can spend the evening together? Go for a boat ride? I'll show you some of the islands in the lake. We could have a picnic dinner and watch the sun set."


"All right." Her voice was soft and low, and her emerald eyes sparkled in the subdued room light.


He stood and walked over to the door. She followed him. His jaw tensed when he turned to look at her. He wanted to kiss her, but it was way too soon. 


"I'll see you tomorrow," she whispered.


"Good night," he said.

"Good night."





Christmas in July Special: Mr. Christmas Elf

Christmas in July is a great opportunity to bring the joy and good will of the Christmas season to you! With that, I'd thought I'd share one of Christmas stories, "Mr. Christmas Elf." 


Christmas is on the way, but Jules isn’t in the mood this year. She and her dad are barely making ends meet, and with extra bills piling up, how can they afford Christmas? Jules needs a new muffler for her car, and school tuition is looming—but the peppermint on top? Her boyfriend has just dumped her in a text message! When her boss at the coffee shop insists that all employees must write a letter to Santa and post it on the window, Jules decides to be painfully honest about what she needs—but is there any hope she will get it? When Elvis, a handsome hunk, shows up to visit with her about her car muffler, she begins to have an inkling of hope that this Christmas will be one to remember, after all. Claiming to be one of Santa’s elves, Elvis tells her all the magic the Christmas season has to offer can be hers, if she only believes. Is that too much to ask for?

Buy Link: