Two Books

I’m way behind on reviews but luckily I’ve been good at keeping my reading journal so bear with me while I try to catch up. Here are two books you may want to try if you are in the mood for mysteries.

“Something wrong, I can feel it: a sting pricking the skin and stitching inward. A dream, maybe. Memory. Both have brought me their share of grief. I force open my eyes, the slightest tinge of gray seeping through the curtains. Not yet day. But light enough that I can make out the silhouette of her curled on the little bed beside mine, planet tucked to her chin and wrapped tight around her small legs. Finch, sleeping. Safe.”

These Silent Woods
By Kimi Cunningham Grant
Source: Advance review copy

Cooper and his daughter, Finch, live in a remote cabin in the woods. They have no electricity or phone. They are totally off grid and have been in isolation for 8 years. Finch is starting to show signs of wanting to know more about the outside world but Cooper is determined to keep her safe.

One day though the only friend Cooper has relied on to bring them supplies doesn’t show up and they will be forced to go out. Each stop is fraught with tension as Cooper doesn’t want anyone to pay attention to Finch but the little girl is so desperate for human interaction. As the story develops the reader learns about Cooper’s time in Afghanistan, his relationship with Finch’s mother and family and of course what brought them to the woods.

Ultimately a disappearance of a girl in the woods will have serious repercussions for them. Who can they trust and will they be able to stay together. Really found the descriptions of nature and Finch’s connection to them so sweet and of course she’s a reader so it was easy to love her character. A very different mystery but very good.

“That July night seemed full of possibility, with the empty highway stretching out before us. I had just woken up from a nap in the passenger seat, my head foggy as I remembered where we were. I took off my flip-flops and pulled my bare legs up, crossing them and running my hands through my hair. The digital clock on the dash said it was two in the morning, and the road didn’t look like the same road we’d been on when I fell asleep.”

Murder Road
By Simone St. James
Source: Advance review copy

April and Eddie are on their way to spend their honeymoon at a small town resort but they take a wrong turn onto a deserted road and when they spot a young woman hitchhiking they stop to help her. Despite Eddie’s hesitancy to help, they can’t leave this girl alone at night.

Once inside the car, it’s evident the girl has been seriously hurt and they rush to find help. At the same time they become aware of taillights gaining up behind them. It’s a tense ride and unfortunately things don’t get any better once at the hospital as they become primary suspects and are told not to leave town.

As they spend their first days of what was supposed to be their honeymoon at Rose’s inn, the couple starts to find out more about the story behind Atticus Lane and why it’s called the Murder Road. They get involved with some other local town characters and in true Simone St. James fashion there are supernatural elements surrounding the happenings. This was very atmospheric and overall another great read from this author.

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It’s my bloggiversary and it’s a big one – 20 years! Is that crazy or what? When I started my blog I figured it would be fun but didn’t think too much about the future or had any long term plans. I had been reading blogs for at least a year by then and I loved reading about travels, crafting and other ways that people were documenting their days and I thought wouldn’t it be great to talk about books as they’ve always been a constant in my life?

Before I knew it, I had asked my husband if he would design a header for blog and soon I published my first post. As weeks and months passed I started meeting other book bloggers and through the years we’ve shared stories not just about the books we are reading but the stories we are creating in our lives with our families, trips, hobbies, etc.

Blogging has certainly changed over the past few years but even when I read about how blogging is dead, those of us who are still blogging about books seem to be going strong. Well, sometimes we may fall behind but we return!

I just want to say thank you so much for being here, for being part of the book blogging community and for sharing in the love of books. Now off to do a bit of celebrating! And, I hope you have a fabulous day!


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Bookbinding Adventures

It’s been a while since I took an in person bookbinding class but when I saw that the Austin Book Arts Center had a workshop on making a botanical press I knew I didn’t want to miss out.

The history of pressing plants and flowers dates back to the 16th century and it was a way for botanists to record their findings. By pressing flowers and plant parts their shape, texture and colors can be preserved for hundreds of years. I not a gardener or botanist so it’s not that I’m building my own herbarium but I love the idea of incorporating some nature into my journaling. Presses can be quite simple to make or buy and some can be small enough to use on the go.

The one we made is 9 1/2 by 5 1/2 and composed of two wooden cover boards, a leather wrap and print paper, and corrugated cardboard. So it’s quite portable and the leather wrap works to hold everything tight between the boards.

We sewed a long stitch binding and kettle stitch, both of which are simple and stitches I’ve done many, many times. However what was a bit harder to do was punch through the leather and get all the holes straight and sew through and make sure all stitches were tight. That was a bit unwieldy in my opinion not so much the size of the book but the leather which was nice but not very pliable, although I’m sure that will soften over time.

My stitching wasn’t the best but I always think that part of the beauty of a handmade item are those little imperfections. The best part is knowing you made it and learned something. If you are wondering about the lose pieces of paper you see in the photo of the open book, those are where you place the flowers and take them out after about a week and then you can replace with another piece of paper and continue to collect more specimens.

Also, as an added bonus as our class size was only seven students we got to do some additional work on our press if we wanted to. Our instructor showed us how to do some embossing, stamping and tooling on the leather. I opted to try out the (very hot!) stamping machine and added my name to my botanical press. I loved this!

If you are interested in making your own botanical press, you can find kits online or you can also check out this article from the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

Now I just have to wait until temperatures cool down and can go back out for nature walks. Which means not until fall! Haha…

Anyway, would love to know if you enjoy collecting flowers or if you’ve are enjoying some craft making lately.

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