May 22, 2014

Gina Drama

It had been a long time ago since I had the chance to catch up with Zoe. As she and Gina have become friends during the past couple of months we decided we really should go out for a drink. I wore this dress from The Pretty Dress Company. It was an after work meeting at a wine bar. 
Zoe's still enjoying her single life. She's been dating on and off with the business man she's thrown up over and I got the feeling she likes him more than she wants to admit. She sees herself as a free spirit, but I think she secretly wants to move in with him. I bet within a few months they'll get married and after that they will have at least four children.
Gina has seen Lester again, several times to be exact. She's so in love with him that she's seriously considering giving up her marriage with Trevor. Somehow I can't picture her in his modern home with the twins, but it might be exactly where she will end up. It sounds like he's serious. They've kissed each other several times now. She should tell her husband though and do something about it before word will get around and he will hear it from someone else. Too many people have seen them together already. I'm one hundred percent behind her and I will let her and the girls stay with me if needed. Gina doesn't seem like she has a care in the world though, she's too happy. I think we're on the same cloud as I'm feeling exactly the same because of Calvin. I can't even believe I thought I liked Lester a few weeks ago. Gina can have him, he's a good man and he's rich. I think they will be perfect together. I feel a bit guilty towards Trevor for even thinking that, but it's true. Since Gina's started working in the art library she's outgrown him somehow. I will have to tell Edward though. I've already said no to one of his dinner invitations and I can't hurt his feelings to keep something hidden from him that's hardly a secret.

Romance on a Wednesday Evening

Converse Sneakers

I'm a romantic person. I love candlelit dinners, I like flowers, champagne makes me happy and nothing beats a weekend in the countryside. Romance isn't only in the big things though, it's the everyday small things that matter the most. That's why I put a little note with a home made friendship bracelet in Calvin's pocket on Tuesday evening. He noticed it as soon as he got home. I know Calvin likes those things and I want to make him happy. With Ben I couldn't be so spontaneous, because I never had any idea how he would take it, but with Calvin I can do whatever I like.
 I wanted to see where he lives, so yesterday evening I finally went there. He has a small two bedroom apartment with a tiny kitchen and bathroom. Everything is blue and white and it was very clean and neat. I immediately liked the atmosphere and I felt completely at home.
 Calvin had some left overs from the restaurant, so he didn't have to cook and when we started kissing we soon forgot about everything around us anyway. He asked me to stay the night, but I didn't bring any spare clothes. Calvin had a surprise for me too though, because he had bought an outfit including shoes for me. The idea came when he found the sneakers. Then he shopped at Asos for the skirt and the boyfriend shirt. He made me feel so loved and wanted with this gesture.

Point Hope by Kristen James

After his Navy career came to an end, Trey became an EMT in his hometown of Coos Bay, Oregon. He struggles with PTSD, which affects his ability to do his job and connect with his family. His wife seems to be living life without him.
Rosette can’t figure out what happened to her marriage, or to Trey—the man she once loved so desperately. It feels like she’ll lose everything along with him. Meanwhile, he’s enclosed in his own world without her.
Their marriage is on its last legs when their family is faced with two deaths and an orphan. They’re already raising two young children and Trey’s teenage brother, Alex. Trey and Rosette make a shaky agreement to play “family” for now so they can take care of Trey’s recently orphaned niece. But can faking it ever be enough?
It’s make-it or break-it time. If they split apart, who will raise Hope?

 I borrowed the summary from Amazon. In Point Hope Trey and Rosette are going through a difficult time in their marriage. They've been talking about splitting up when Trey's brother suddenly passes away. He leaves his pregnant wife behind. Then something else goes terribly wrong and Trey and Rosette have a baby to take care of. Their already extended family grows a little bit more. Will they be able to keep up appearances when everything between them is falling apart?
Point Hope is a love story. Two people who have always been there for each other have somehow grown apart. Will they find a way to get back together or will their marriage be truly over? I really liked this story about family life, strong connections and love. There were a few mistakes in my kindle version of the book, but I easily forgot about them as I was so moved by the story. Point Hope is a wonderful read.

More books I've recently purchased online

I also bought these books online this week. I've now got so many great books that I don't know where to start, such a nice feeling!

May 21, 2014

A Gluten Free High Tea!

I wore this gorgeous King Louie cherry skater dress to a high tea yesterday evening. It was a special party, a surprise even. Stephen, the guy who's been dating Jada, is now her boyfriend. When he told her that he's never been able to have a proper afternoon or high tea, because everything always contains things he isn't allowed to eat, Jada had an idea. She wanted to organize one herself and asked me to help her with the baking. When I told Calvin about this he wanted to be part of the plan as well. He offered to open one of his tea shops for an evening, so Stephen could have the complete experience. Calvin made sure there was champagne and he selected the best teas to go with our baking. 
Jada didn't tell Stephen up front about our plans. She just asked him if he wanted to go to a restaurant with her. When he said yes, she told him she would take care of the reservation. When they entered the restaurant and saw what we had done he gave us all a big hug even though we'd never met before. The smile on his face was priceless. 
Stephen loved the food and Calvin's teas were a delight. Of course we baked way too much, so he had plenty of left overs to take home with him. It was funny as it didn't feel like a double date. It was like an evening with friends who have known each other for a long time. Life can be weird sometimes, but in a good way.

Lavender and Jada's Cook Book Review: Gluten-Free Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond

Jada and I have chosen this cookbook for a very particular reason. It will be a story told in another post, but we wanted to do some gluten free baking and had to find the perfect recipes for that. I've checked out several cookbooks and ordered more than only this one to make sure I'd succeed in my mission.
This gluten free cookbook is amazing. The recipes are wonderful and whatever we tried it tasted delicious. We needed to make bread, cakes, quiches, small pancakes and waffles. There are many different recipes for all of them and we tried two varieties each. Everything tasted divine and we were so happy with this cookbook. It's a book I can recommend to anyone who has to or wants to eat gluten free. Baking without gluten can be heavy and like a ton of bricks in your stomach, but all these recipes were light and easy to digest. I can only say that I will highly recommend this cookbook, I think it's fantastic!

Some books I've bought this week

I've bought the following e-books books this week. I can't wait to read them! When I'm browsing through my kindle library it always makes me extremely happy.

Book Talk: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen / Secrets

In Just Listen the main character Annabel has a secret. At home they're thinking everything's going well. She isn't the sister with problems. Something has happened to Annabel, but she can't talk about it. Until she meets someone who's slowly convincing her to open up to him. 
When I'm being asked what my favorite Young Adult book is, I tell them it's Just Listen. It isn't easy to talk when something awful has happened to you. When you go to school it seems like most of the people around you are fine, but is that actually true? We're easy to judge. If something awful happened to you would you be able to tell people? And do you want the whole world to know including everybody in your class? It isn't that simple. 
When I was younger I had a secret too. It took me a long time to share my story with someone. I have a lot of friends and a close, warm family, but I couldn't bring myself to tell anyone. That's also why this book has a special meaning to me. I haven't been through the same as the main character, but something did happen. I'm a happy, bubbly person now, but I wasn't always like that. Thank you Sarah Dessen for writing this wonderful story and for showing teenagers who are in a similar situation that they need to find someone they can trust, so they can share what's bothering them. Because only then they can really start healing.

May 20, 2014

Book Club Night! The Chronicles of Ixia by Maria V. Snyder

On Book Club Night Betty, Christie, Nolan and I are reading a series together, but we're also talking about our favorite books. We've all got lists with the books we absolutely love and The Chronicles of Ixia by Maria V. Snyder are Betty's number one. I've read these books a few years ago and couldn't put them away. I spent nights reading, because I wanted to know what would happen to Yelena and Opal. 
The world building is absolutely wonderful and the heroines are amazing. They both have a special place in our hearts. They had to endure so much and always found their way out. What makes these books so special is the magic of the characters, every single one of them has a different quality. I'm very sure I'm going to read those books again and again. Every time I open one it feels like it's my birthday.

We talked about world building and how we would do it. I think in our hearts we all aspire to become authors. I don't really know why we're doing a management course for cultural institutions, but I guess it's a plan B or a safety net. Coincidentally we've started to write our books around the same time, but they aren't necessarily fantasy. We love to read it, but you can't always control which story you're going to tell. Nolan is writing a fairytale, Betty is working on a chick lit novel and Christie is our science fiction specialist. None of us have ever published anything, but maybe we can encourage each other to reach that goal?

A Very Warm School Day!

I wore this Love Ur Look city dress to school yesterday. It was such a warm day and inside the building it was a little bit too much. Fortunately our teachers were willing to teach outside, so we've spent most of our time in the sunshine. Afterwards I went to have my regular Monday tea with Rian. We chose a place with a garden. We drank iced tea for a change and we both ordered a big slice of lemon pie. Rian's life is still a mess. He's trying to find a lawyer who will handle his divorce for him. His ex-wife is making things extremely difficult, so he needs someone good to represent him. His siblings are all taking sides and some of them won't speak to him anymore. He's from a big family and they mean everything to him, so all of this is killing him.
We only have a few more weeks of lessons to go. Rian will be teaching summer school and he's asked me to join one of the writing classes. I think I will do that as it sounds interesting. He will be teaching this class. I found out that he's written several books, eight successful thrillers to be exact. He's using a nom de plume. When we started to chat about writing and our favorite books we completely forgot the time. Before I knew it it was six thirty which meant I was already late. I had plans to go to a restaurant with my study/book group and I asked Rian to join us. He didn't stay for the book club talk, because fantasy isn't his cup of tea, but dinner with the five of us was quite a success.

Stopping Time by Melissa Marr

Leslie walked away from the Dark Court, determined to reclaim her life and live it on her own terms—even if it meant leaving behind the two faeries who love her. She knows Niall and Irial watch over her, and she would give almost anything to keep them from hurting. But she resists the pull to be with either one of them. Someone knows about Leslie's past, however, and is intent on using her to reach the fey. And he doesn't care who gets hurt.

I've borrowed the summary from Amazon. Stopping Time is a short story about Leslie, Irial and Niall. Leslie has taken back her life again and is determined to live it as normal as possible. It is very hard to completely ignore the faeries though. She knows they are watching over her. Then someone of her past confronts her with her secret. 
After Ink Exchange I was glad to read more about Leslie and the two faeries who love her. This story was a bit less dark. Impossible love is the main theme here. Even though Leslie doesn't want to be part of the faerie world she can't quite forget about it. Stopping Time is a great read, I really liked it.

Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr

Seth never expected he would want to settle down with anyone—but that was before Aislinn. She is everything he'd ever dreamed of, and he wants to be with her forever. Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen.
Aislinn never expected to rule the very creatures who'd always terrified her—but that was before Keenan. He stole her mortality to make her a monarch, and now she faces challenges and enticements beyond any she'd ever imagined.
In Melissa Marr's third mesmerizing tale of Faerie, Seth and Aislinn struggle to stay true to themselves and each other in a milieu of shadowy rules and shifting allegiances, where old friends become new enemies and one wrong move could plunge the Earth into chaos.

I borrowed the summary from Amazon. There are problems in the relationship between Aislinn and Seth because of her connection to Keenan. Seth wants to belong to their world so he'll be able to have a proper chance to make things work. In the meantime Aislinn has a kingdom to run. She has no idea who her true friends and enemies are.
Seth plays an important role in this book. I loved how his story continued and how he was fierce and loyal. He made his own future happen which I liked a lot. This book was sinister and filled with twisted games, half truths and grief. The writing is great and the characters and world have been brought to life in quite a vivid way. I'm really curious to see where this series is going.

May 19, 2014

Facts about Lavender

1) I love the brand Sundry and this sweater is my latest purchase. I have no idea if I'm wearing the right brands or not and that isn't very important to me either. I choose things because I like them. I started to notice how much I actually like Sundry when I found several of their items in my closet.

2) Bad Girls is my newest e-book purchase. I've bought it a few hours ago. I usually buy e-books that are on sale. When there's a good offer I purchase the book. If there's a book that I've been wanting for a while but which is a little bit more expensive I often go for the paperback version. I like a good bargain and I've already read many wonderful and surprising books that way. It makes me discover new things I otherwise maybe wouldn't have picked, but I often like those books a lot. 

 3) My favorite flowers are peonies. I love flowers and I like everything that's pink. Roses are wonderful and romantic. This is the prettiest one of them all. At least it is for me. 

4) My favorite champagne is Blin's Blanc de Blancs. I really like a good glass of champagne. A vintage from a good year, or another good specialty. When there's champagne the party has already half succeeded. For me it's a special drink and when I'm able to have it I'm enjoying every sip.

Elizabeth & James

5) I wear both glasses and lenses. As soon as I get home the lenses go out and I put on the glasses. I can't see very much without them. Maybe that is because I've read so many books?

Slither's Tale by Joseph Delaney

Far from the Wardstone, a new darkness is rising . . .

Slither is a haizda mage who preys upon humans, drinking their blood to feed his dark urges. So when a local farmer dies, it’s only natural that Slither should want to feast on his lovely daughters.

But then the farmer offers him a deal, and extracts from Slither a promise that will take him on a journey to the City of the Petrified Tree, to a fallen star-stone that holds great power, and straight into the path of Grimalkin, the Witch Assassin.

I borrowed the summary from Joseph Delaney's website. Slither is a monster, a Kobalos, who's main source of nutrition is blood. The Kobalos are a completely male race of monsters who are capturing human woman to serve as their slaves. Slither has made a deal with a farmer and he has to keep his word, no matter what happens. He can have the eldest daughter, as long as his other two daughters remain safe. He wants to sell her as a slave. When someone else takes an interest in the girls things are starting to go very wrong. That's when Slither meets Grimalkin.
Slither is such a nasty creature, but somewhere deep inside him is a bit of good. I kept hoping he would change into something better, but Slither is a monster, so maybe that was in vain. I liked the courageous Nessa and any book with Grimalkin as a main character is a great one. I really enjoyed this tale and can't wait to see what will happen with the Kobalos next.

My Writing Weekend!

Provence Rose Notebook

I worked very hard this weekend. I got up early to make people breakfast, I made beds, I took orders and I accompanied the guests together with aunt Giselle. We made sure they were happy and healthy and that they had everything they desired. Which also meant I had the chance to see Celia Daniels's home, because I accompanied her there a few times. She gave me and the people who were taking her course a lovely surprise, a signed version of her latest book with a personal message. It's a wonderful gift that I will treasure forever. I'm not starstruck anymore, at least not in front of her or Jim. I feel a bit more confident after getting to know them so well and Calvin had to tell me at least twenty times that they are normal people no matter what they've accomplished. He got along very well with them and treated them like he treats everyone else, with a joke and a smile. Everyone seemed to genuinely like him. I'm not surprised, but I am very proud of him. The weekend was useful for him too as he's sold a lot of tea and managed to get several bookings for his tearooms. He also sold some coffee to the bed and breakfast and he's promised my uncle and aunt that they can call us any time they need someone to help out during an extremely busy weekend. 
Something wonderful has happened during one of the writing courses. I had lots of time to work on my novel. All of a sudden I was writing an epilogue and then I was writing the last sentence of my story. That means that I've finished the first draft of my book! I can't believe it, it's a huge milestone for me. I've worked so hard during the past couple of months, but I know a big part of the real work is still in front of me because I still need to do a lot of editing. I've received great advice and quite a few pointers. I have to make sure that the reader knows what I'm talking about, it can be evident to me, but it has to be to anyone who reads my story. That is one of my biggest flaws. Another one is that I should make my main character a bit tougher, because he is a boy. It's hard to think like a boy when you're a very girly girl, but I'm sure I can pull it off. I just need to be aware. I've made a list of all my possible pitfalls and shortcomings and hopefully my novel will turn out to be at least a little bit decent.
As always I was very sad to leave uncle Peter and aunt Giselle behind. I love to spend time with them and I do want to visit them when I'm not needed or when there isn't a writer's weekend at the bed and breakfast. Calvin has made sure that will happen, he asked everyone to look at their planners and then we set a date. It's his way to do everything, if you want something very much you make arrangements straight away. I can learn something from that.
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