Monday, April 22, 2013

Unrivaled review

Summary: Three-Time Christy Finalist Pens Another Winning Historical Romance
Lucy Kendall always assumed she'd help her father in his candy-making business, creating recipes and aiding him in their shared passion. But after a year traveling in Europe, Lucy returns to 1910 St. Louis to find her father unwell and her mother planning to sell the struggling candy company. Determined to help, Lucy vows to create a candy that will reverse their fortunes.
St. Louis newcomer Charlie Clarke is determined to help his father dominate the nation's candy industry. Compromise is not an option when the prize is a father's approval, and falling in love with a business rival is a recipe for disaster when only one company can win. Will these two star-crossed lovers let a competition that turns less than friendly sour their dreams?

My Take:

I am such a fan of Siri Mitchell that her books are nearly always on my "must have" list -- even before I know what they're about or what the reviews are like. This one does not make my favorites list though. The premise is good but it lacks . . . the depth that is normally present in her books. Her books are normally rich with material on theme, symbolism, character growth and qualities, historic information . . ..

There were two gems in this one: the candy descriptions and information (recipes would have been fun) and Charlie's character. I started off the book thinking Lucy was a great character but she seemed to sink lower and lower -- doing mean and bad things with irritating frequency. She was also self-absorbed. She didn't think about her friend Sam having a life, dreams, desires. She really only thought of how he could help her. 

Charlie seemed to nearly always think of other people. He supported his mother and sisters at home, then wanted to help Lucy and make her more comfortable, wanted to help the workers at the factory, and he tried to please his father. He wasn't perfect, but you could see him trying and it was easy to relate to him. He tried to do the right thing. 

The candy and historical information was fun, but it lacked real romance and sparks between our two leads.

The things I wasn't as fond of in this book wouldn't stop me from suggesting several of her past books, or reading something published by her in the future. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter - Review

Summary: Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?

The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.

When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor's daughter figure out which brother to blame... and which brother to trust with her heart?

My Take:

I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen, Bronte's Jane Eyre, and Julie Klassen so this had an irresistible flavor for me. I'm a carb lover and this was like homemade bread fresh out of the oven or warm chocolate chip cookies. It hits my favorite list.

What I liked was although this book evoked the same kind of feeling you get with Austen and Bronte, it isn't a carbon copy of them. 

The characters are truly interesting and well rounded. There are places that make you laugh -- and others that you end up reading as fast as you can to see what is going to happen next. This is one of those books I could see myself re-reading from time to time.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Windows 8

Right before we moved my computer died. It is interesting to note it was exactly four days after the warranty expired. Four days. {sigh} I use and depend on my computer for so much that I needed a replacement fast.

So, I bought a new computer and it came pre-installed with Windows 8. I hadn't heard much about it at the time and I thought it was just an upgraded Windows 7.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

Here is my completely unprofessional (I'm not a computer expert) opinion of my experience with Windows 8 . . .

I hated it.

Okay, so that wasn't very helpful. Windows 8 appears to be designed to use on touchscreens. It operates like the apps you use on your phone or e-reader. That is great if you have a touchscreen -- not so much if you are using a regular computer. There is no start button and a lot of your programs are hidden away and difficult to find.

Navigation in general is very different in Windows 8. Your control panel and other settings that used to be so easy to find with a start menu are . . .  hiding. I stumbled upon the control panel once and then couldn't remember how I got there the next time because I had tried so many things. {grrrr} You hover your mouse on the sides or bottom of the screen to try and access other menus. Make sure you hit just the right spot though . . . or it won't pull up.

The music isn't handled by Media Player anymore; they use the X-Box music software. A lot of people love that on the X-Box, but it isn't as user friendly for the computer. The same goes for their pdf reader. I couldn't print anything from it - so unless you just want to look at the pdf, it was basically useless and annoying. The same sort of thing is true for the program that handles pictures.

The good news is that you can install a start button that pulls up a start menu and replace the standard music, pdf, and photo programs with more user friendly and familiar versions. I did that and I now have a good mix of both worlds.

I'm still learning the system and maybe with more time it won't feel so awkward. Anyone else started using Windows 8? Do you love or hate it?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hanging Jewelry

Moving forces (I mean offers you the opportunity) to think about how you've been doing things and make changes. Storage is always an issue and I discovered a new way for me to organize my jewelry.

The picture on the right is of two (out of four) tie racks that I hung in my closet to hold my necklaces. Each rack has twenty-seven hangers. :o)  That is so much better than trying to store them all in those jewelry chests that have up to twelve hangers. I have used wire racks on the floor too.

I like these because they were inexpensive ($8.00 each), they don't take up half the space of the other options I've tried, the necklaces and bracelets don't get tangled like when they're stored in cubbies or drawers, I can space them so even my extra long necklaces fit, and I can see them all in a glance. It makes me happy every time I walk into my closet. :o)

I make jewelry too, so having the space to display all my jewelry is wonderful.

Okay - back to unpacking . . .