Audiobooks · Books

From The Reading Table: A Tempest At Sea

A Tempest at Sea by Sherry Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having read (listened to) the entire Lady Sherlock series, I’m used to (i.e. spoiled by) the storytelling. Add Kate Reading’s fabulous talents as a reader of the audiobooks and the experience is a luscious treat.

This latest addition to the series is unusual in that it brings together many characters from the other books and puts them on a ship much like the one Agatha Christie created in Death On The Nile. They are stuck together with at least one murderer among them.

Every part of this book is interesting on its own. From the resolution/evolution of character arcs to the mystery itself, each is well developed and engaging. Toss in the story arcs with various characters and the book really shines.

I like the way each character’s flaws and limitations are brought forward. There are places where the prose makes them visceral, to say the least. I’d mention a couple of characters here, but readers will have their own particular, um, favorites.

I also like that the book has included the ship plans for the reader, which makes figuring out locations easy. The audiobook has an attached pdf to download.

Yes, you can read it out of order and enjoy the story, but if you have read the entire series you will get more from this encounter with particular characters.

I’m curious to discover how many more books will be in the series. At this point, I can contemplate at least 2, maybe 3, more. What I can’t, and frankly don’t want to, contemplate is how those stories will develop. I’m more than happy to wait and see.

View all my reviews

Card Making · Crafting · Craftroom · Musings · Quilting · Scrapbooking · YouTube

Craft Room Infusion

Or, I really need to find inspiration

This made my day!

Great ideas, and a way to not only shop our stash, but discover what is in our stash!

Speaking of our stash, if you don’t have a way of getting rid of items you no longer want or need, the link in the video should be helpful. I don’t have anyone near me who takes on craft items for reuse and I will be investigating that link for myself.


Can I Share A Secret?

Recently I came across a couple of comments from content creators that got me to thinking. On the surface, each came from the place where most folks spend their time, but when you pull back the curtain…

Number 1: The Idea of ‘Modern’

As in what is considered modern today. This creator was giving ideas on how to update your home to avoid it looking dated. The thought that occurred to me was that ‘modern’ is relative. What I mean is that when you do a bit of a history trawl, as in look back over the years, you will find the idea of ‘modern’ applies to each and every year going back millennia.

Yep, those dated cabinets, carpets, drapery, furniture styles, clothing, you name it, was considered modern in the day they were produced. Every. Single. One. This was brought into focus and emphasized recently when I saw a walk through of a home built in the early 1900s and then saw a video walk through of homes in Pompeii and Rome. The same ostentatious design elements from two very different time periods that included color, art, size, and number of rooms.

Yep, think about it. Few folks actually go out of their way to create homes that would be considered out of date (as in appliances that would not be usable today) but they choose to create homes using design aesthetics of a different era. The rest look at the newest appliances, fabric, cabinet design, etc. to create homes that by most standards would be considered modern. Fast forward 10 to 20 years and those homes will be out of date.

Number 2: The Idea of ‘Perfect’

It has been said that perfection is in the eye of the beholder, but I think that many times we let the idea of perfection get in the way of many things.

Recently one of my favorite creators took us through his kitchen. This is a rental flat with the usual rental expectations when it comes to cabinetry, appliances, and pretty much everything else that comes with the flat. In other words, it isn’t ‘high end’. He said that he had put off taking us on the tour because of chipped countertops, well worn floors, etc.

Here’s the thing; no home that is lived in is always perfect. There will always be opportunities with well used spaces in addition to the realities of living in a space. Toss in kids and or pets and perfection tends to fly out the window no matter how hard we work to corral and control the realities of life.

Personally, I subscribe to the theory that my home should reflect me, not the latest trend on the Internet or the opinion of people who don’t live in it, pay for it, or take care of it. That means that the floors might need a sweep now and then, the cabinets could use a good cleaning and coat of paint, and, because I live with a fur baby, there will be fur not on the animal. I can’t really complain about her fur as mine tends to compete taking up space not on my head.

Number 3: The Idea of ‘New’

I think we tend to forget that nothing is really ‘new’ and everything has been done before, even if it might have been done differently. Sort of. It comes down to the idea of discovery. For many folks these ideas are new to them, so they are inclined to interpret them as new to everyone else.

Food for thought, eh?

Books · Media · Musings · TV

Revisiting the Peanuts Gallery

I really can not recall a time when the comic strip ‘Peanuts’ wasn’t around somewhere. I even recall watching the very first Peanuts special (‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’) way back in 1965. Actually, I recall watching every ‘Peanuts’ special from the very first showing. Yeah, I’ve been around that long. 🙂

The thing is, Charlie Brown and friends have been companions in many ways over the years and in some odd way have transcended childhood to adulthood without losing any of their wisdom and magic.

I’ve often been amused when people comment about cartoons or comic strips as only for children and not deserving attention from adults, let alone appreciation for the art form. And they are art forms.

Peanuts may look like just a bunch of kids meandering through their childhood but when you sit down and pay attention you realize that the conversations run deeper than expected, touch on topics you never considered, and often strike a nerve.

Do I have a favorite character? Well, I named my dog Snoopy and I find myself drawn to both Linus and Charlie Brown, so I guess you could say I do. But I appreciate Marcie for her unique outlook. Pigpen is one of those people who live life by their own rules while existing within society’s boundaries. Rerun highlighted the pleasures and perils of being a little kid…especially on his mom’s bike. The kid learned courage early!

I’m glad to say that I have the original specials not only on VHS but also on DVD. I strongly recommend them as additions to any media library. You never know when you might need a visit by the Great Pumpkin in the middle of Summer.

Don’t overlook the movies! Visually stunning, the storylines are interesting and enjoyable. A great way to spend an afternoon or evening with popcorn.

Peanuts is a treasure for so many reasons. Like fine wine, it just gets better with age.

Bingeworthy · Classic TV · Cord Cutting · TV

Discovering Classics

One of the unexpected surprises of cord-cutting and streaming is the ability to dig out classic TV or movies and discover just how good (or not) they are. PlutoTV has been updating its service and some of the updates have been quite surprising. And enjoyable.

While I’m astounded that it took so long to get a 24/7 I Love Lucy channel – considering how many other similar channels are available – I found myself with a bit of a grin and a touch of anticipation when I heard about this new addition to the service. If you are a fan, you understand, if not it won’t matter.

This evening, over on the Classic TV channel (still part of Pluto TV) I was surprised to find a stack of episodes from The Avengers and I took the time to indulge in a couple. I’ve heard of the show my entire life but never took the time, or had the opportunity, to actually watch. I’m glad to say I understand the furor over the show (my episodes were pre-Diana Rigg) and enjoyed them very much.

I’ve spent time recently looking over the several free platforms that are on my Roku Channel Guide – even the Roku Channel itself. There is a lot of material out there and some of it is worth getting out the popcorn, etc. and diving in.

You don’t need a Roku, if you have a Smart TV, you’ll probably already have apps on it, or you can use your Amazon Fire TV Stick. My point is that there is a huge variety of material if you are willing to do a bit of digging. 😉

What’s next? I have no idea. That is the fun of the hunt. Enjoy!

Media · TV

Cord Cutting Experimenting With Free or Not So Free

I’ve had a Roku for years. I enjoy the freedom and flexibility it offers. I have friends who have Amazon Fire and enjoy that, too. The neat thing about cord cutting and smart TVs is that you don’t need either to indulge in streaming platforms.

Xumo Play

Xumo is one of those channels I’ve had on my list for a while, drop in to view every once in a while and then tend to overlook, okay forget about, until I see it in my line up and dive back in again. That is until recently when I noticed the name change on my screen and decided to check it out.

It turns out that XumoPlay is a great collection of a wide variety of material in a new (to me) format that captured my attention far more than in the past. When Craftsy TV showed up I couldn’t stop watching. If you like watching shows dedicated to a variety of crafting this could be right up your street.

Check out their network list HERE.

As much as I enjoy PlutoTV, I’m finding this different collection of similar shows captivating.

The MeTV Conundrum

A few months back I was thrilled to announce I’d found a way to watch MeTV on my Roku. Sadly, that didn’t last long. The channel creator had collected a great variety of free to view channels and put them together on a Roku channel that found itself removed within 60 days. I don’t know what happened, I can guess, but I will let all that be and walk on.

At this point, MeTV has not developed a streaming platform.

The Elephant In The Room

While not totally unexpected, costs across the board for streaming services seem to be on the rise. There has been, and continues to be, consolidation of different services and platforms (I’m thinking Paramount+ & Showtime). For those of us who walked away from cable years ago, these cost updates are not nearly as costly as cable but could prove to be a budget issue if not reviewed.

I continue to stress that, if possible, an over-the-air antenna allows a lot of free TV. There are numerous places to get information on how to find and install one.

I also stress that you may not ‘need’ to have all the streaming platforms. In fact, if you look carefully, you may only need one or two. The thing is you need to pay attention to what you watch, when you watch, and what you can shift.

For example, if you love Star Trek but don’t want a yearly subscription to Paramount+, you have the option of subscribing for a period to binge your favorites and move on. The thing is that Paramount+, like other streaming services, is beginning program accordingly. The 3 big Trek series are no longer being scheduled in strip, instead they are being spread out through the year, so your short term binge might not be quite so short.

Disney+ has tons of great programming, but don’t be surprised if you start seeing things exit. Same with HBO Max, and I have no clue what their thought process is over there, but it is worth keeping in mind they have been at the front of the clear out and clean out of their program library.

I think the days of drop in for a month or two and leave are gone.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do that, it just might mean you miss out on things.

I’ve been a long time subscriber to Acorn TV because I love their mix of Canadian, Australian and British programming. With the loss of Miss Fisher, however, the only mainstay I had was Murdoch Mysteries. In past years when the current season was already under way in Canada, Acorn TV had put the show on in January. For whatever reason, this didn’t happen this year. In fact, when I reached out to Acorn TV a few weeks ago, they had no schedule date. Considering what I was not watching, and not definite date for the return of Murdoch Mysteries, I cancelled my subscription.

Fast forward to mid-February and Murdoch Mysteries has a Season 16 release date on Acorn TV of late March. <sigh> At this point, I have no plans to subscribe, but time will tell.

I understand contract negotiations, etc., but personally, it comes off as a bit of a ‘eh’ to the viewer. I had the option of adding a cable subscription so I could watch on another network (???!!!!) but that is not anything I’m interested in.

One thing I’ve noticed is a variety of programming showing up on a variety of platforms, some free, some not. Lots of classic TV, for example, pops up in a wide variety of channels like Pluto TV and Xumo. It pays to look around and see what is available. You might be shocked. I have been. 🙂

Happy Viewing!