Two Room Flat, by Jill Urbach

Two-Room Flat"Two Room Flat" is totally romantic, a little bit spicy, a little bit risque, yet a sweet, smut-free read. I thoroughly enjoyed Jill Urbach’s debut novel. Claire is a fun and funny character, and Adam is dreamy and exasperating all at once. The story progresses naturally and I found myself turning pages quickly, laughing one minute, holding my breath the next, shedding tears, then laughing all over again. Urbach’s deft hand at balancing tension and humor impressed me. Her pacing was impeccable.

If you are a Princess Diana fan you will doubly love this story because you will find kindred spirits in both the main character (Claire) and the author (Urbach). While the many famous London settings and historical details enhance “Two Room Flat,” they do not over-power it, so even if you aren’t a fan of England’s royal family chances are good you will still be charmed by this story.

UrbackJill Urbach is a woman of many talents. She is an novelist, an actress, a singer, a song writer, a girl scout leader, a gardener, and a third grade teacher — which all come after her her first passion — being an outstanding wife and mother. Jill lives on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest (you can read a bit about it in her novel).

Amazon book blurb:

Spicy fiction made novelist Claire Gissler a star, but she can’t pen a sentence to save her life since her husband’s accidental death two years ago. Now, deeply in debt, her only hope of reviving her crumbling career is to flee small town America for big city London. Trouble is, she can’t afford the move. That is, not until hand-some Adam Lambright — her husband’s best friend and the man she blames for his death — offers to let her stay in his flat… with him.

Adam Lambright used to know how to smile, how to have fun, how to love, but that was before watching his best friend die and his wife wither away from cancer. Now, ticked off at God, he’s vowed never to love again. That doesn’t mean he can’t help out his best friend’s widow. Besides, her life’s more of a mess than his own.

Seeing no other possible option, Claire moves to London. In that exciting city, she faces the challenges of rebuilding her career — and the attentions of her sexy English publicist. But, it’s her growing feelings for Adam that present the biggest challenge: learn to forgive or face heartbreak once again.

Jill’s book trailer for Two Room Flat shows off her many talents — and the talents of her family as well. Watch the credits carefully. You’ll find the names of both her daughters and her husband.

To learn more about Jill Urbach, be sure to visit her website, JillUrbach.com (radio and text interview spots, and video from assorted singing gigs, including a great duet with her handsome husband, Andy) and like her Facebook page.

Make Mine Mocha

As many of you now know, I am working at a very popular local coffee shop. We don’t have any retail chain stores here on the island, so ours isn’t a name you know, but we’re a Friday Harbor hotspot just the same. I love people, so for the most part serving customers is a blast. There’s a lot of humor and laughter shared over the counter.

However, there are always exceptions. Recently a very angry fellow came to the walk up window. I flashed a bright smile and said, “How may I help you?”

He shrieked, “What did you do with the ferry?!”

I responded (quite bewildered), “Excuse me?”  I am a barista in a coffee shop.  I wear a cute little green checkered apron with roses on it.  I make coffee and serve ice cream.  I obviously have no control over the ferry.

The man, red in the face with a little vein throbbing in his forehead, yelled, “A minute ago there was a ferry at the dock. Now it’s gone. I just went into the store for a minute.  What did you do with the ferry?!”

I so wanted to say, “What?!  Did it sink again?!”

I figured that response would get me strangled, so I gave the man a ferry schedule and told him when the next ship would dock.  I hope he figured out on his own that when one’s ship comes in, one should get on it post-haste!

What’s New With Amoeba & Quilly?

Well, Amoeba spent a week in Louisiana, came home for a few days and then flew off to Hawaii. He came home from Hawaii for a few hours — literally just long enough to get the clothes in his suitcase washed and repacked — and drove to Seattle where he is now.

I have been busy, too, but not jet setting. I have been right here at home gardening and cleaning the garage. I had to clean the garage because we bought a second car. Well, it is sort of a car …. It is street legal and we have it licensed and insured, but calling it a car is kind of ambitious. It is a little electric Ford TH!NK Neighbor.

Buggy

I call it a buggy and I love it. It only goes 25 mph, but that is plenty fast enough in town — and one can still get a speeding ticket in it on many of our local streets. (No, neither of us have done so nor do we plan to). I told Amoeba I would happily trade him cars. He can have the Malibu and I will have the buggy. He said no — then he got in the Malibu and went to Seattle!

Of course, going to Seattle in the buggy could be an ordeal since one would have to make at least 3 eight hour stops to recharge the battery along the way. And I am happy zip, zip, zipping around in the buggy.

A Picturesque Camping Trip

Once again we tripped off to Vancouver, B.C. with a group of students from UW’s Friday Harbor Labs.  This time it was the ZooBot class (a Zoological and Botanical survey of coastal sea life).

This is Megan.
Megan
Megan teaches the Zoo part of ZooBots.  I took this shot right after the class returned from the beach and caught Megan in the act of exchanging boots for shoes. Megan is just as fun and energetic as this photo implies.

This is the classroom.
Waves

This is the class.
class

Somethings to study.
sealife 2

Some more things to study.
sea life

Of course it wasn’t all work.
Kamp Kool Kids

When in camp we roasted hats.
roasted hats

Roasted socks.
roasted socks
Played games.
cards

Celebrated a birthday …
party
… with cake …
cupcakes

… and music …
music

… and dancing.
dancing

We also ate.
ate
Megan’s friend brought us a bucket full of fresh crab.  I am sure that somewhere in all the crunching and slurping we remembered to say thank you.

And of course I found time to take a few pics:

wildflower

Wildflower

dancing grass

Dancing Grass (growing from a rock)

more scenery

River Tree

seedy

Seed Head

fiddle fern

Fiddlehead Ferns

crab

crab

anemone

Sea Anemone

gull

Gull

berry soon

Berry Soon

grass

Grass

Botany Bay path

Botany Bay Path

Botany Bay steps

Botany Bay Steps

Botany Bay lower trail

Botany Bay Boardwalk

furry trees

Furry Trees

greens

New Growth

stellar jay

Stellar Jay

Friday Harbor Labs, UW

Come see where Amoeba works.  Dave Hays, a UW film making class student, interviewed Hillary, one of the TAs who works with Charley (Amoeba) and Megan in their “ZooBot” class which is an entire quarter (16 credits: Marine Zoology 5 credits; Marine Botany 5 credits; and a Research Apprenticeship in Intertidal Ecology and Physiology for 6 credits).   Hillary is currently working on her PhD focusing on the study of the interactions of marine organisms with their environment.

That might all sound intimidating, but the video below makes it easy to understand and gives you a glimpse of Amoeba’s working environment.