27 January 2016

Think Spring with a Fairy Garden Sale

SKH Photo
As we continue to dig out from the Blizzard of 2016, the thought of fairy gardens excites me. I have a fairy garden out front and they have kind of found their way inside several places as well. I try to change it up a bit outside each season. So right now there is a Christmas tree near one of their little houses and a candy cane lane and a melting snowman!

Time to think of Spring - one good storm and I'm ready for Spring now! - and Stauffer's of Kissel Hill (SKH) can help today! Today (Wednesday, 27 January), the Deal of the Day at Stauffer's is 33% off all fairies and fairy garden accessories.

Are you looking for a new garden path, cute little kittens, a new house perhaps, or even flying pigs? Yes, I was up at Stauffer's yesterday and I really did see some flying pigs in the fairy garden section.

The Deal of the Day is for today only. There are no rain checks and it is while supplies last. Pop in early (it opened at 7 a.m.).

There are eight locations in Central Pennsylvania. The three in Lancaster County are Lititz, Oregon Pike, Rohrerstown. In York, you can visit SKH in East York and Dover. There are three near Harrisburg. They are: Hummelstown, Linglestown, and Mechanicsburg. You could also check out Stauffer's online at www.skh.com.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

Review: Cat's Claw by Susan Wittig Albert

Cat's Claw (China Bayles, #20)Cat's Claw by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was trying to read this series in order. I makes it so much easier even though Susan Wittig Albert is very good normally at having China Bayles explain who is who and bringing the reader up to date. Normally.

I must have missed a book. The last one I read was Spanish Dagger, in which her half-brother Miles was insistent upon searching for answers concerning their father's fatal car "accident." Now all of a sudden, China and McQuaid have two kids: Brian (from McQuaid's first marriage) and now a daughter Caitlin who just kind of showed up in the storyline. Then in a Bayles recap she notes that Caitlin is actually Miles' daughter who came to live with them after her mother drowned and her father was ... wait for it ... murdered!

It seems I have obviously missed a book or two. Actually, I have missed four: Nightshade, Wormwood, Holly Blues, and Mourning Gloria!

Having it told from two different point of views (and voices even - which is a credit to the author) did keep it just disjointed enough that, unlike the other China Bayles books, I did not have the entire plot line figured out until close to the end. While I was correct too in surmising all the crimes and how they tied in with each other, the final chapter was a nice summation.

All in all another great little mystery!

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© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

21 January 2016

2016 Reading Challenge

Goodreads reader Anne put forth a challenge for this year and I love it so I thought I would pass it along as well as set it her as a reminder/checklist to myself. I did change a few items.

For example, her #8 was "a banned or challenged book." Maybe when I was in grade school, I would read a book because it was on the "no-no" list. Specifically I remember in sixth grade, the nuns told me I was not allowed to read The Diary of Anne Frank. They told my mom it was on a banned list (which of course no one but the nuns ever actually saw). I told her - and them - I was reading it anyway. Now I should say, I was also reading anything and everything regarding WWII at the time. Anyway, changing this one to "a Pennsylvania history" book.

Also, her #12 was "a book with LGBT matter or character(s)." Not my cup of tea, I'll be honest. So I know that if a book were overly LGBT or tried to push that life on me, not only would I not read the book, I would probably simply throw it away. So why bother? For that one, I will add "An Irish genealogy related book."

Her #32 was "dystopia," which just sounds depressing. Instead I will select a business book. By business book, I specifically mean a book from the library at work.

I am also going to double up on a few where possible since my goal is to read 36 books this year. So, for example, I just finished Susan Wittig Albert's Spanish Dagger. It is a book of fiction, that takes place in North America (#1) and is a murder-mystery (#44 wild card).

Tier one: 2/36
Tier two: 2/52

Read a book that takes place on each continent, or is written by an author from that continent (fiction or non-fiction)

1. North America - Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert
2. South America
3. Africa
4. Antarctica
5. Europe
6. Asia
7. Australia

8.   A book on Pennsylvania history
9.   An award winning book (Pulitzer, Hugo, Man Booker, etc.)
10. Memoir/Autobiography/Biography
11. A dead author's last book
12. An Irish genealogy related book
13. A book your favorite author loves
14. A retold fairytale
15. A Young Adult book
16. A history book (fiction or non-fiction)
17. A book where you have seen the movie, but not read the book
18. A book from the NYT Bestseller list
19. A book with the point of view of an immigrant
20. A controversial book
21. The first book you see when you walk into a library or bookstore
22. A classic
23. A debut novel
24. Published this year (2016)
25. Based entirely on the cover
26. Own but never read
27. A book by an author you never read before
28. A book recommended to you by a friendly librarian
29. A book by a Nobel Prize winner
30. Mythology (not just Greek)
31. A book written by someone born the same year as you
32. A business book - Miller's Bolt: A Modern Business Parable by Thomas Stirr
33. Reread of a favorite book
34. A book about books
35. Book published the year you graduated high school
36. A book a child/teen/someone younger than you loves
37. A book about/set by the sea
38. A book with two authors
39. Author from your own state, province, or country
40. A book about a trip (road, cruise, around the world)
41. A book with the name of a person in the title
42. Science Fiction
43. Fantasy
44. Wild card - Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert
45. Wild card
46. Wild card
47. Wild card
48. Wild card
49. Wild card
50. Wild card
51. Wild card
52. Wild card    

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

Proud Mama Moment

Proud Mama Moment !!! My daughter,  Zorina, talks about her upcoming exhibit at Annex 24 Gallery in Lancaster on her blog: http://wp.me/p72rqy-H.

by Zorina Eckman
If you enjoy art - specifically, if you enjoy Zorina's artwork, please follow her blog or follow her on Twitter for updates!

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

17 January 2016

Review: Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert

Spanish Dagger (China Bayles, #15)Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Susan Wittig Albert again drew me into the life of China Bayles and her friends. It has been awhile and it felt like I was catching up with old friends! I love how she mixes herbal and botanical gems of wisdom with a littler murder mystery. Her books, when read in order at least like I'm trying to, are like a mini soap opera with a little murder and mayhem thrown in to spruce up life in a small town! Agatha Christie would be proud.

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10 January 2016

Review: Miller's Bolt: A Modern Business Parable

Miller's Bolt: A Modern Business Parable Miller's Bolt: A Modern Business Parable by Thomas Stirr
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Easy to read book with helpful practical techniques to improve your performance at work and with co-workers. The techniques are simple enough they can be applied in any line of work or even life in general. A must read for anyone who interacts with others!

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