Drawing with pencils

I tried drawing with pencils and… well, I’m no Picasso but pencils have the ability to make any doodle appear serious and professional, so I love them.

Here is the result. I know…at least it was fun to draw.

IMG_0347

Believe it or not, that’s supposed to be Winston Churchill. I included a picture so you would know what he actually looked like.

(credit:britannica.com)

(credit:britannica.com)

Review: Heartless

I adore Mary Balogh’s historical romance books. I can’t tell you exactly what it is about her writing but I can immediately tell that she’s from England (she’s actually from Wales). Her books always have a very authentic feel to them that just lifts them above other books.

Heartless is the story of Lady Anna Marlow who has devoted her life to taking care of her dying parents, first, and then her siblings until she’s almost out of marrying age. Devoted sister that she is, she’s still thinking of how to marry her younger sister when an elderly aunt takes an interest in her and tries to match her instead.

It’s though this match that Anna meets Lucas Kendrick, Duke of Harndon, our hero. After the years of hardship, stress and worry, Anna needs someone to take care of her and lift worries from her mind. However that’s not what she gets in the Duke of Harndon.

Lucas Kendrick was banished from England by his own family and, in the aftermath, was forced to find his own way in the world. He did so very successfully, but lost all innocence and became very cynical in the process. He’s reluctantly back to do his duty as heir and it’s just in that frame of mind that he marries Anna.

It’s a marriage of two people who don’t know each other at all and who, both, have had traumatic events in their past. What follows is how they manage to heal their wounds, befriend, then fall in love with each other, all while unravelling their place as the Duke and Duchess of Harndon.

I love historical romances for many reasons, the elegance of their speech, the beautiful setting, the calm rhythm of their lives and even the lack of technology. Things seemed so much simpler and honourable then. Heartless has all of those, of course, with a very authentic English touch to them all, but it’s also a beautiful love story. And that’s the best part of all.

I’m a true Mary Balogh fan and have rarely met a book of hers I didn’t like and this one is no exception. I’d recommend Heartless for the story and writing and because it’s a great book. But, to put it more simply, because I started it on Thursday morning and did nothing all day until I could turn the last page and find out what had happened. Then basked in the afterglow of a good book for quite a few hours. It’s that good.

(credit: goodreds.com)

(credit: goodreds.com)

Update: Ocean’s Booboo

I finally caved and dragged Ocean to the vet yesterday. There, they sedated her, shaved the area and palpated around. There wasn’t any blood or liquid coming from the toe so they turned to the X-ray for answers. And there, on the side of her bone there was a tiny fragment that was not attached to the big gone. On the other paw, it clearly was attached.

This is the toe in question

This is the toe in question

In one of her mad dashes around the yard, she must have injured the toe and broken that tiny bone.

Now the vet said there wasn’t anything we could do for the toe but, like all vets, she had a ton of very expensive ideas that might help Ocean. She suggested antibiotics, which I vetoed since there wasn’t an infection, massage and physiotherapy, which I vetoed again when I saw the price of one 20 minute session.

After paying over $500 for the trip, I took a groggy Ocean home.

Ocean sleeping off the anesthetic

Ocean sleeping off the anesthetic

River, keeping Ocean company.

River, keeping Ocean company.

Meanwhile all of this was going on, my lovely hubby was supposed to be at work. Instead, he was buying me this.IMG_0355

Some husbands get their wives flowers…I got the world’s oddest plunger.

mommy

Oh my goodness! How cute is this picture! I just had to share this one along.
By the way, if this one picture just hit your heart the way it did mine, check out the site: Wicked Aww Pics. It’s heaven for any animal lovers out there.

Wicked Aww Pics

mommy

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Review: Until there was you

Kristan Higgins is a new-to-me author. Don’t ask me how it is that I have missed her all these years. I have no idea. I must have been living under a rock. I was at the used book store and someone recommended her to me and I picked up a book of hers because (this is terrible!) I liked the dog on the cover.

Still, once discovered, she won’t stay away from my radar for long. Not after I read this book by her, Until there was you. It was absolutely awesome.

The plot is nothing that hasn’t been seen before, but it was still delicious enough to pull me in. It’s the story of Posey Osterhagen, who owns her own salvaging company (salvaging things, though she’d like to salvage and reno a victorian house), has an adorable Great Dane and a quirky family. The hottest guy in the school broke her heart back in high school and Posey moved on…but he’s back in town.

So Posey is absolutely awesome. She’s kind, supportive of her hilarious friends, yet manages to put some boundaries when said friends sometimes take advantage. She also gives back as good as she gets in the conversation sparring department and that won her a ton of stars in my book.

Liam is our guy, the same one who was mean to Posey back in high school. But he’s not the typical cool, snob. Liam has his own quirks that aren’t as dark and scary as some of the alpha heroes I’ve read in other books. Liam’s wife died recently and trying to cop, along with raising his daughter, have given him not only a bit of stress but some OCD. Now OCD is nothing to laugh about…but with Liam, it’s really almost funny.

That’s the thing that brought Kristan Higgins’ book from good to super, the humour. Her characters are hilarious. Let me give you a sample.

Posey is described in the book as stick-like. She didn’t have too many curves. And she’s often looked over by men for other who are more…well, read and see.

“…the woman next to him, a middle-aged woman whose bosom could shelter a family of four and their Bernese mountain dog.”

The humour in the book doesn’t lag and doesn’t belittle the struggle between the hero and heroine either. I cried with this book and then rejoiced at the ending.

And yes, the Great Dane, Shilo was awesome and silly and all the things big dogs are. I loved reading about him.

You might have read Kristan Higgins and wonder what on earth took me this long but if you haven’t, learn from my mistake. She’s really, really good. Good enough that I’m heading back to the used book store to snag a couple more books by her and I’m adding her to my authors-to-watch list.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.

Ocean’s boo-boo

We didn’t get dogs when we moved out to the country. We got dogs and then decided to move out to the country–because was a better environment for our pooches.

It’s safe to say they’re a little spoiled.

Our diva-girl, Ocean, posing for the camera

Our diva-girl, Ocean, posing for the camera

River loves watching TV

River loves watching TV

They’re fluffy, they’re silly and they’re ours. In spite of their ability to shed their body weight in hair every few months, we love them to bits.

That was why when I saw Ocean, limping, I ran to her side to check out the injury. After many licks from her and a few more from River, I was able to see that there was a bit of blood on her right front paw. Caring dog-mother that I am, I immediately ran for the antibiotic ointment.

Believe it or not, there was blood on this paw

Believe it or not, there was blood on this paw

Well, Ocean licked the ointment off in less time than it takes me to type this. I moaned in despair and reapplied. More licks followed.

I think she got hurt digging this hole...

I think she got hurt digging this hole…

My husband wasn’t as worried as I was…but I was besides myself. All day, I rushed from place to place, trying to get back home to check on our girl. When I finally got home, I ran to the yard, desperate to check on Ocean.

Why are you looking at me like that? Everything's fine.

Why are you looking at me like that? Everything’s fine.

The fuzz-ball in question was running around the yard madly chasing an invisible squirrel. I have never seen her that happy.

I guess I better cancel that emergency appointment I made at the vet’s.

Review: The Liar

I love Nora Roberts. She’s truly the master of romance. She’s on my automatic-buy list for good reason and she never disappoints. Case in point, The Liar.

It’s the story of Shelby who’s husband is just about the worst sort of person you could know. He lies to her (ahem, title!) and sucks her into a huge debt. Shelby stays oblivious to this because Richard (the slug of a man) belittles her into not asking financial questions by calling her names and basically emotionally abusing her.

Shelby finds out the truth when Richard dies in an accident and comes to face one surprise after another. He leaves her in crippling debt–and I mean millions of it–with a little girl to take care of and not a single support system in place. Turns out, he wasn’t rich, he wasn’t loyal to her and he wasn’t even called Richard. Shelby valiantly fights off the debt by selling most of their things, including engagement ring that wasn’t real, and the house they lived in. Then heads back to her home to continue dealing with the debt by getting a job but doing it while surrounded by family.

It’s when she returns home that the story really takes off. She’s in a deliciously tiny town full of great characters that are both wacky and hilarious. Her family is awesome, just the sort I’d like to have if I was in her shoes, and her daughter is cute as a button.

It’s also here that Nora shows her true brilliance. One of the most difficult parts of a book that includes a move is the saggy middle. Nora keeps the story rolling with Richard’s past resurfacing its ugly head and Shelby having to deal with one surprise after another.

Another truly difficult challenge was the hero. Griffin is a wonderful hero, patient, caring and funny. But a hero like that runs the risk of becoming too nice and entering the brother-affection area. Under any other author, I could see Griffin and Shelby quickly losing chemistry. He’s so nice, she’s so nice…it would be just plain boring. But here, they keep that spark and I credit Nora for that.

And finally, those cute village people and Shelby’s daughter are in the story but they don’t take over the story–something that is another dangerous pitfall for some books. They leave the centre stage clearly to Shelby by carefully constructed phrases that move the story along. Nora Roberts is a pro. She does it so well, it looks effortlessly. Just like it should.

The Liar is a contemporary romantic story that’s just simply delicious. Absolutely a great summer read, but also something to enjoy in the fall, or the winter months or reread for those blah February days. I know I’ll go back to it again to revisit those great powerful scenes and fabulous characters. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in romance and certainly to any Nora Roberts fan. What a great read.

(credit:amazon.com)

(credit:amazon.com)

Note: to go to site, click on cover.

Happiness — Wicked Aww Pics

Absolutely adorable! What a great picture. I particularly love how happy the puppy is. Blissfully unaware of any problems. A huge thank you to Wicked-aww-pics for this awesome picture!

Happiness

via Happiness — Wicked Aww Pics

Thoughts and Prayers for France

I hope that one day we demonstrate compassion and understanding are more than just words.

(credit: bbc.com)

(credit: bbc.com)

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of France in the wake of this horrific attack.

(credit:reinventing fabulous.com)

(credit:reinventing fabulous.com)

Doodling attempt

So, this is me doodling again. I’m really trying to excuse the money I’ve spent on the art supplies and, hopefully, learn a thing or two…or, if that fails, have fun. Oh and this is a copy. I tried to imitate one of the greats, hoping that doing that, I’d learn something.

(my attempt)

(my attempt)

This one is the original that so inspired me.

(credit: aliexpress.com)

(credit: aliexpress.com)

Yeap. It’s for sale…to the highest bidder.