Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mercy by Susan Sims Moody

Recently, I had the pleasure to read Susan Sims Moody's novel titled Mercy. Mercy is the second book in the Jennifer Martin Mystery Series, with Susan's novel Flatlands being the debut of the series. I am honored to have an opportunity to provide a brief reflection on Mercy.

Let me begin by sharing a summary, as provided on Amazon:

Mercy, set in the small Mississippi town of that name, weaves a tale of past and present and reveals what can happen to three generations of family when money and secrets collide.
Davis Sanford, contemptuously dismissed by his family almost a decade ago, is a recovering alcoholic and the grandchild of local timber baron and pillar of the community, Frank Sanford. An early-morning phone call from his old haunt of Mercy draws Davis home once more for the impending death of the family patriarch. Jennifer Martin returns to the scene as Davis’s girlfriend, and the two embark on a weekend journey through his past.

As the prodigal son copes with his grandfather’s mortality, he must also face his disapproving father and a wealth of personal history he has tried for years to leave behind. Together with Jennifer he uncovers one family secret after another, at last discovering the sin that has shaped, conflicted, and ultimately driven them all to the tragic existences they lead.

How you like them apples? Pretty juicy, huh?

This novel was an unbelievably fun read that rapidly accelerates into the final chapters. I found myself trying to predict the twists, as well as the conclusion of the novel, only to then realize that I was arguing with myself about my previous predictions.

Throughout the book, I loved Moody's ability to expertly combine the tales from the present and the past voice, while allowing each to maintain its own identity. Additionally, I admire the complication of the relationships she bares to the reader, so much like those in many of our own experiences. I also enjoyed the exploration into Mississippi's history; particularly things that we Mississippians embrace with one arm, while we carefully push away with the other.

Now, on a totally personal note, I need to rave about the comfort that this book provided to a Mississippi girl living in a California state of mind.

I could begin simply with the dialogue. It is so refreshing to read an author that actually gets a southern accent correct, especially a Mississippi accent. It pains me when I read a well-intentioned author slaughter our beautiful southern dialect. A southern accent does not equal uneducated and inferior intellect. It is just plain offensive. Moody hits the proverbial nail squarely on the head, as her phrasing, colloquialisms, and pronunciations were absolutely impeccable.

Finally, it was also a source of comfort to read about local haunts for Jennifer and Davis that remind me so much of home. Whether it be the Courthouse in Bedford or the pine trees in Mercy, I love being transported to my home state in a work of fiction. (On a side note: I know one family that will be on the pulling into the Velvet Cream off of Hwy 51 in Hernando the very next time that we are in town!)

Now, not only are Susan's first two books available for purchase/download on Amazon, her newest book in the series, The Devil Don't Knock is available for download! Looks like I have some more readin' to do, y'all!

The author provided a free copy of this book for review.  I was not compensated in any way.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wonky Sock Monkey

Another quilt from Quilt Retreat.  I sewed the squares together, slightly askew from one another, cut them, and then re-pieced them.  The edges are unfinished to give the quilt that raggedy feel.  
(See our new family Christmas tree, in the background?  Isn't it kitschy?  We still have the big one in the living room; this one is just for our yearly ornaments.)

A close up to show the raggedy, unfinished edges.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve and Pumpkins A-Plenty!

I love the anticipation on Thanksgiving Eve. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, because I get to spend the whole day in the kitchen making Thanksgiving dinner for my family.
Happy day! So, the brine has cooked and is now cooling. The turkey is washed and waiting for its brine bath. :)
I also wanted to take the opportunity to show the Pumpkin Quilt that I made recently.

I finished the binding while I was at the Quilt Retreat, but had finished the rest in late October/early November.

It wa made from a pattern called "Jack-o-Lanterns" by Black Mountain Quilts. I opted to not put the faces on the pumpkins, so that I could have it out in the front room through Thanksgiving.

The fabric that I used came from a kit at the Cottage for a quilt called Crazy Jacks. This is the first quilt that I haven't stippled. I free-motion quilted each pumpkin and then did a vine/leaf pattern between them. (No comment on the subliminal picture in the pumpkin quilting. My friends and I have already discussed this ad nauseum.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quilt Retreat 2010 - (Idyllwild)

(Disclaimer:  I wrote this post on my iPad and it isn't the greatest about adding photos from facebook.  I'll add the photos later.) 
I am the luckiest woman ever! Last weekend, I went on a quilt retreat with some friends, and made some new ones. We even formed a new Friendship Group! It was such fun. I can't wait until our next get-together.
Check out my car---loaded for our trip.

It looked like a sweatshop with all of the sewing machines set up. Short of the Quilter's Cottage, I've never seen so many Berninas!

After many hours, these two holes on the throat of my machine were taunting me. So, I decided to make them a smiley-face.

Here is a shot of my "completed" projects: 2 quilt tops, 1 apron, and I finished my pumpkin quilt. (From left to right)

Good times!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010 Boo Crew

Gabriela the Leaf Fairy

Daniel the Clone Trooper

Cristina the Baterina

Jake the Jawa

The Boo Crew

The Dastardly Daisy