Dec 30, 2015

Ramblings



  • I survived horribly early morning on Christmas eve and enjoyed having the three days off..  It was a time for relaxing and working on my jewelry.  I did discover that knotting pearls with bandaids on doesn't work very well.
  • I received a Christmas card from a congress-critter in Delaware on Monday.  Not sure why because I live in Washington and wouldn't be voting for him as he is far outside of my area.  Kinda a waste of money.
  • I have found a new addiction. Coloring on my IPad. I have a few adult coloring books but I am never satisfied with the pictures once I am done. I have also found that coloring digitally is easier on my hands. I am using an iOS app called Pigment & they have a lot of free pages. 
Dec 26, 2015

Book Review: Hold Me Close




Apart, they are broken, but together, they are whole.

Effie and Heath are famous. Not for anything they did, but for what happened to them as teenagers. Abducted and abused by the same man, they turned to each other for comfort until they were finally able to make their escape.

Now adults, their relationship is fraught with guilt and despair. Whether fighting or making love, their passion is strong enough to destroy them both — and Effie's not about to let that happen. She knows it's time for her to have a 'normal' relationship, and Heath is nothing but a constant reminder of the dark past they share. Heath, on the other hand, knows Effie is the only woman he can ever love. She may want to forget what happened, but he's convinced that they must face their past together in order to move forward. So while Effie continues to bring new men into her life, Heath becomes obsessed with proving he's the one she needs.

Then a new crisis arises and Effie begins to lose every scrap of self-control she ever had. As she struggles against her desire to return to the one man who understands her, she discovers that sometimes the only safety you find is with the person who is the most dangerous for you.


* * * * *

Incredible character development!  Effie was broken by events in her past where she was kidnapped and held for three years by a maniac who forced her to call him 'Daddy'.  Heath was also a captive and they grew to depend on each other for their sanity and lives.

Effie is all appearances seems to have recovered from her ordeal,  She owns her own home, has a daughter and a thriving career as an artist.  She's not able to have a 'normal' relationship however and refuses to have one with Heath even though she loves him.  So she is trying dating services in hopes to meet a nice guy that isn't too boring.

I had a lot of trouble finishing this book.  There are several very graphic and violent sex scenes which didn't phase me.  What I had issues was how the timeline would jump back and forth between the present and the past with no warning.  I would be reading a scene thinking it was in the present to suddenly have it refer to something that happened back when she was a captive.  Trying to constantly figure out just what year the story was in really kept me from relaxing and enjoying the tale.

Now every reader's experiences will be different so if this book sounds interesting, give it a try and be sure to let me know your opinion.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Dec 23, 2015

Ramblings



  • My ex-roommate that I had been having problems has finally gotten all of her stuff out of the house and cleaned up her room.  Now thoughts of how I want to use that room are rambling through my mind.  I would like to be able to rent it out but with all of our fur kids, I am not sure if I could find someone.  I have also been thinking about setting it up as a guest room and one where I could set up to take pics.  It gets hot in there in the summer but the light would be so much better then in my basement.
  • I am so dreading Thursday.  We are closing early for Christmas Eve so I have to be at work three hours early.  I am so not awake at 7 am.  I am just glad that I don't have to drive into the office that day.
  • We are changing our Christmas tradition this year.  Myself and my husband normally go out to a movie on Christmas but there really isn't anything that I want to see.  I know that everyone is hot about Star Wars but I ditched that series after it started going wanky.
  • It amazes me how up in arms people get about the term "Merry Christmas".  I don't celebrate Christmas myself but I am not offended when people wish me a merry one.  It is just a sign of good will.  So why get offended when offense isn't meant?  It amazes how people will search out reasons to get mad.
  • I know that I haven't been posting a lot of book reviews the last couple weeks.  I have instead been diving into some library books where I can just relax and read.  I finished up book of short stories based around Valdemer and the Heralds a couple days ago and am working on a fantasy called Updraft.
  • I am also avidly listening to the Harry Potter series in audio.  I had only read the first four but am finding that I am enjoying them even more having them read to me.  After all, they started out as a story she was telling her children.
  • I can't believe that 2015 is almost over and I still haven't figured out a word for 2016.  I have been pondering it for the last couple weeks too.
  • Today is the 36th anniversary of when I lost my virginity.  Strange date to remember but hey my mind works in strange ways.  I still remember the look on my mom's face when she went into my closet to get a shirt for one of her friends and found my boyfriend.
Dec 18, 2015

Art Bead Scene December Challenge


Paris
Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, 1951
Oil on canvas, 12 7/8 x 18 (33 x 45.5)
Inscribed on stretcher 'A Rex avec toute l'amitié de Vieira' and 'à Vieira'


The inspiration this month was down right sneaky.  A lot of times when I see a piece of art, I immediately start working out a design in my mind.  The painting above didn't generate any strong feelings.  In fact, all I really thought about was how blah it was considering that it was supposed to represent one of the most vibrant cities that I have ever been too.  I then put it out of my mind.  Or so I thought.

I had picked up a polymer link from Staci Louise Smith that was larger and I thought that it would make a great focal.  It's gorgeous with pinks and oranges all playing together so nicely.  Somewhere I had picked up some light pink beads and I had set them and the focal in my handy muffin tin to use later.

Well their time had come since I was sitting at my design table with no real ideas in mind so I grabbed the tin and pulled out the focal.  Still not really sure what I was going to do but I started digging in my stash.  I came up with a leather tassel that would be perfect.  I kept saying that I wanted to use more tassels as I love the look.  No reason to put it off any more.



Now that I had the focal in mind, I needed to decide what to do with the body of necklace.  At first I was going to knot the pink beads with waxed linen but I had been doing a lot of that lately and needed a change.  How about a beaded chain?  That just didn't ring my bells either so I started digging through my chains and came up with a diamond chain that I could take apart for links.



Bingo!  With that one decision, the finished necklace came together in my mind.  At that time, I realized that I had actually been inspired by the colors and the geometric designs in the painting along with the feeling that I experienced in Paris.  Like I said, it was sneaky and I had to go around the long way to come up with this design.




Dec 16, 2015

Ramblings




  • One of the highlights of my year is the annual Red Hatters tea party.  It is always held during the Christmas season to give us all a chance to take a breath and visit.  I always really enjoy it even though purple is not my favorite color.

  • I still can wear and look good in a pair of high heels but I sure regret wearing them the next day.  One of my regrets for getting older.  I remember when heels were all I would wear.  Heck they still are all I would wear though I tend to wear them a lot less since I rarely leave the house.  One of the parts of my job that I really enjoy is being able to work barefoot and in yoga pants.
Dec 15, 2015

Santa Claus




For the most part, I don't regret not having children.  One of the things that I miss however is seeing the holidays through their eyes.  The sense of wonder at all the lights and decorations, the anticipation of finding out just what Santa brought this year.  Those closest I ever came to it was setting up an Easter basket for a girlfriend so she could spend the evening before at her boyfriend's house.

I do think back to my childhood and my experiences with Santa.  I remember waking up early (which was quite the feat as I always was a night person) to see what this jolly old man had left for me.  I was always pestering my Mom trying to find out how he would get inside since we never had a chimney.

I figured out when I was about 6 or 7 that there wasn't really a Santa but I was a greedy kid.  I decided that as long as I didn't let my mother know that there wasn't really a Santa then I would keep getting double the gifts.  Since I had a little sister, it worked out pretty well until I was about 10 (or 11...it was a long time ago).

Now that I am an adult, I know that my mom knew that I was scamming her but I really thought that I was putting something over on her.  At what age did you admit that you didn't think that Santa was real?
Dec 12, 2015

Blueberry Cove Beads Review



I do like subscription services.  I am on one for tea and since making jewelry is definitely one of my passion, I have been looking into such services for beads.  One that I have made a recent acquaintance with is Bluebarry Cove Beads.  They are based in Canada and source a lot of their beads from Europe.



I was lucky enough to get their November kit.  It was filled with some crystal, charms, wooden buttons, dyed howlite Christmas trees, silver and copper charms, crochet beads, a beautiful golden reindeer focal and some wooden trees as well as wood blanks to do cross stitch on.  All of the goodies were packaged up beautifully in a black satin bag that I can reuse.  The theme was Norwegian Christmas.

Some of the howlite trees were scratched on one side but overall, I was very pleased with beads and charms that were in the kit.  One of the benefits of having someone else pick out my beads is the fact that since I didn't choose them, using them pushes my muse.  Some of them such as the wooden buttons I didn't find a way to use yet but I will.  It was well worth the $22 + shipping that each kit costs.

Along with the kit, Isobel run a challenge each month to design a piece of jewelry with the prize being a free kit.  The challenge this month was to create a bracelet using the snowflake charms.  I decided that I wanted a rich charm bracelet that would work for all winter instead of aiming for Christmas jewelry.  I used the fun snowflakes as well as the minty green crystals from the kit.  I added in some clear crystal to give it that icy, wintery feeling.  I also made a pair of earrings to go with this rich bracelet.  Perfect for any party this season.



I kept finding myself going back to those howlite Christmas trees and made up a necklace using the blue one along with the cute crochet beads and the white crystals that came with the kit.  I added in some Czech druk beads, some pewter star spacers and the clasp.  I am rather happy with how this necklace came out.  I think that I am going to have to do a search and find some more of the crochet beads.  Thank you Blueberry Cove Beads for introducing me to them.


Here's another view of the crochet beads.  Yep.  I am a convert to them.



My final design was a quick pair of Christmas earrings using the wooden tree beads as well as some of the reddish and the white crystal beads.  I still have one of the trees left and am planning on doing up a necklace to go along with them.



I really enjoyed working with these beads and Blueberry Cove Beads subscription service is a wonderful way to stretch your creativity in new directions.  The European spin that Isobel puts on her kits is simply wonderful for us American beaders. 
Dec 9, 2015

Ramblings



  • Chloe came home.  I am not sure what happened to her but she was healthy and didn't look like she was starving while she was gone.  She has gone from a cat that would get destructive if we didn't let her out to one that is very happy to stay inside.  Pretty nice change while it lasts.
  • Very irritating.  My favorite pair of jeans decided to rip out.  I hate how they just get really comfortable and then they die.  I don't understand the fad of buying pre-ripped jeans.  That would just cause them to commit suicide earlier.
  • I have decided that a self-service dog washing place is the way to go.  I had to give Jing a bath which I always dread as she doesn't like them and weighs a lot.  Lifting her into a tub is the perfect recipe for a backache.  I took her to Shampooch in Tacoma.  I still had to lift her into the tub as she wasn't about to try the stairs but she actually enjoyed the bath.  It surprised me but she even liked the blowdryer.  Jing doesn't need a bath often but that is where I will take her especially since I didn't even have to clean up the mess.
  • We finally have that extra room cleaned up.  I am not sure if I want to rent it out again or use it as an extra bedroom.  I might pick up a daybed for it and look into fostering.  If so then we would like to get a GBT teen who has been kicked out for their sexuality.  
  • I have had sooooo many issues getting a package out for the holiday swap between migraines and waiting for deliveries.  I finally got it all ready and headed to the post office thinking that I would slip it into one of their priority boxes.  I had forgotten that the larger boxes need tape.  Arg...
  • It took forever and a day (or so it seemed) but I finally was able to get the funds in my health care account released so that I can pay for meds and whatever.  It's extremely frustrating considering that I put the money on the card to have to fight to get access to it.


  • I picked up a couple vintage brass tassels. Trying to decide just how I plan on using them.  Think that one will be on a gemstone beaded chain.  Any ideas on what stone I should use?

History Blog Hop


Now history isn't my strong suit but I am up for a blog hop any time so of course I had to join in when Leah of Beady Eyed Bunny asked if people were interested.  I am also hoping that this hop will kick me in the butt when it comes to reading blogs because while I have gotten back in the habit of posting, I am so far behind on reading my blogs that I am ashamed. 

This hop features work depicting the Paleolithic era in history.  Leah provided us with some info on this time period and some links to check out for further info.  Unfortunately between work and migraines I didn't get a chance to do any further research.  Thank goodness that I had a focal that I feel works from Bead Lovelies




This lovely polymer focal reminds me of the heads on Easter Island or a cave painting.  When I saw it a couple years ago I just knew that I had to have it even though I had NO idea what I would use it for.  I am so glad now that I followed my impulse.




I also used some rich bronzite rounds to pick up the rich gold/brown colors in the focal and some brass beads.  I finished it off with some bronze chain.

Now be sure to 'hop' around to the other blogs to see what other designers came up with for this period in our history.

Dec 7, 2015

Book Review: She Can Kill




Reformed assassin Cristan Rojas just wants to raise his daughter in peace. But after twelve years on the run, he learns that even the quiet little town of Westbury, Pennsylvania, has many hidden dangers. Although he can’t shake the feeling he’s under surveillance, Cristan’s attraction to Sarah Mitchell continues to grow, as do his concerns that his secret past could jeopardize anyone who gets too close to him.

Sarah is ready to start her life over with her children, a new job, and a budding romance. Her newfound happiness is threatened when her ex-husband becomes increasingly violent—and she soon learns her ex isn’t the only person stalking her.

Cristan fears someone from his past has arrived in town, someone far worse than a jealous ex. Someone who may be responsible for a brutal—and unsolved—murder a dozen years ago. To protect Sarah and his daughter, he must shine a light into the darkest recesses of his nightmarish past.


* * * * *

When I see the words 'reformed assassin', I immediately start to wonder just what reformed them and if the reformation will stick.  I didn't have any cause to wonder with Cristan as what changed him was the love of his daughter and wanting her to grow up away from the life he had known.  I found him to be an interesting and intriguing man that would only resort to violence to protect those he loves or women and children.  He is the kind of man that a woman wouldn't mind meeting in a dark alley.

Sarah is struggling to learn to live as a single mother and her violent ex-husband isn't helping matters as he plans to get her back under his control.  I enjoyed watching her learn that allowing other people to help her out isn't admitting weakness.  And I felt that she really deserved a chance with a decent man like Cristan.  Now if only their pasts would leave them alone.

I really enjoyed SHE CAN KILL.  The main characters, Cristan and Sarah, were people that I would enjoy calling friends and the secondary characters were well fleshed out and helped keep the story on pace.  Speaking of pace, it was brisk and the tension built up nicely throughout.  The villain from Cristan's past kept you guessing as to just who she was while Sarah's ex Troy was ever present.

I would recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense.  It is part of a series and I am going to find the rest of the series so that I can get more of the secondary character's stories.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.


Dec 5, 2015

Charmed I'm Sure Blog Hop




I love blog hops!  There is no way around that and while I have been doing a lot of jewelry challenges this year, I haven't ran across as many hops to join as I would have liked.  A long drawn out way to say that I was jumping for joy when Lisa of Pine Ridge Treasures decided to host a hop.  (And I am crossing my fingers that she goes back to hops rather then the Facebook Challenges.)

This hop was all about charms as I am sure that you have guessed by the name.  Lisa sent us out some beautiful beads, some charms and a silver bracelet to attach it all too.  All very pretty but as I sat looking at all the beadiness it occurred to me that while I enjoy charms, I don't tend to use them on bracelets.  That thought was like a bolt of lightening (or like I gave myself permission to think outside the box) and the ideas started coming.



I made several pairs of earrings which is my favorite way to use charms.




With these, I was able to show off the beautiful beads that I received.



And all the wonderful charms which has a wonderful spring feeling with the all the flowers and birds. 



All of the earrings will be donated to Ears To You.  I have a bunch that I need to get all bagged up and off to them by the end of the year. 



I think what originally stumped me about the charms was this wonderful focal bar that I couldn't figure out how to put into a bracelet.  It sure makes a delightful necklace though. 

Now as this is a hop, there are several designers to jump around too.  Grab a mug of tea and prepare for the eye candy.  It's a great way to start off your weekend.

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations
Kari Asbury, Hippie Chick Design
Ann Schroeder, Bead Love
Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue
Karin Grosset Grange (France), Ginkgo et Coquelicot
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
Dec 2, 2015

Ramblings

.




  • I really think that I prefer Thanksgiving to be a day of relaxing.  Everyone else can be working on their dinners while I just keep back and do whatever.
  • Not a good week so far.  Chloe disappeared on Friday.  I have checked the shelter and posted a lot of fliers but I hadn't seen a hair of her :(  I keep hoping that she has just convinced someone that she's a stray and they have taken her in.  In that case, she will come home when she manages to escape.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.
  • I have NO bloody idea why a company can be so incompetent and still keep their contract!  I have a medical savings plan where a set amount is taken out pretax and I can use that for co-pays as well as prescriptions.  There are times when they ask for receipts to prove that you are using it correctly and they will block the debit card until you send them in.  I had that happen to me so I sent in the receipt they are wanting.  Seven times!  It is still waiting to be processed from November 16th and it is only supposed to take 2 business days.  I have to use this money by the end of the year but I can't access it.  If your company uses WageWorks think twice about taking advantage of the medical savings account.


  • One the bright side, I have been having a lot of fun playing with the beads I got from Blueberry Cove Beads.
Dec 1, 2015

Book Review: The Casquette Girls (The Casquette Girls #1)




Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.


After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal.


* * * * *

Wow!  It's not often that a book so completely entrances me that a cat jumping up into my lap almost gives me a heart attack.  This book has such an eerie yet realistic feel that I was tensing all at the little sounds an older home makes in the dead of the night.  I want to give Ms. Arden kudos for writing the best book that I have had the pleasure of reading in 2015.

I just loved Adele.  In a lot of ways, she is your typical sixteen-year-old.  After being uprooted from her home in New Orleans, all she wants to do is get back to her home and her father.  She is shocked by the changes brought on by the Storm to her home and her city.  Nothing is going exactly like she expected from being attacked by a crow in her kitchen to discovering that since her school has been destroyed that she will be attending a catholic school where all the rich kids go.

Not only was the character of Adele amazing in the way that she grows and changes throughout the book but I really enjoyed ;meeting' all the secondary characters.  None of them turn out to be what I expected from my first impression.

I am really happy that THE CASQUETTE GIRLS is just the first book in the series as I can't wait to dive back into Ms.Arden's world.  I highly recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy young adult paranormal.  I am sure that you will enjoy it as much as I did.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Nov 27, 2015

Book Review: Shadow Wolf



He wanted justice. For his family. For her. 

Elite tracker Kino Cosen is hunting for the drug lord who murdered his father. After a decade of searching, he's finally got the Viper in his sight—until a woman gets in the way. Now Kino has a new lead. Aid worker Lea Atlaha has seen the Viper face-to-face…and lived.

But now Lea's a target. And while Kino thinks he's protecting her because she can help him get justice for his father, he soon realizes that she's not just another witness. As the Viper moves in for the kill, Kino has to choose between his need for vengeance, the traditions of his tribe and the woman he has grown to love.



I really enjoy reading a tight, suspense filled romantic thriller.  They satisfy that need in myself to prove that love really goes conquer all.  But they have to be well written because content errors will pull me out the story quicker then a bucket of cold water.

* * * * *

Unfortunately, I found errors in SHADOW WOLF.  When someone breaks a door down, I have to wonder just how they are able to dead bolt it five minutes later without fixing the frame.  Or why there are a few sentences that contradict themselves all in the same paragraph.  So love might conquer all but errors in the story line.

I really can't recommend this book to my readers because it was a struggle to finish it.  As soon as I would start to get back into the story,  I would thrown back out of the story.  It does looks like it would be a good book but it really needs to be reworked. 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.


Nov 26, 2015

Giving Thanks

English: Turkey dinner
English: Turkey dinner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



I know that most people Thanksgiving is a day to spend with your family enjoying a huge meal and time spent catching up with each other's lives.  Neither myself or my husband have any family close by that we associate with so it tends to be a day to relax and recharge our batteries. 

Now just so you don't think that we are turkey deprived,  I wanted to let you know that our monthly potluck in November is a huge turkey dinner where I do up the turkey and my chosen family & friends bring the side dishes.  Much less stress then trying to do the whole dinner ourselves.  And since I don't have to worry about cooking on Thanksgiving itself, I have time today to actually reflect on what I am thankful for.

  • I am thankful for my husband Saje Williams.  We have had our rough times but I have always known that you have my back.  I love you enough to marry you several times over.
  • I am thankful for my friends.  I tend to be a loner but my friends have become my chosen family and always there to help celebrate my wins and my sorrows.
  • I am thankful for my home which shelters myself, my husband and my menagerie.  I managed to purchase this home through the help of a good friend who I will always treasure.
  • I am thankful for my job which allows me to work from home and to ensure that I have a roof over my head.  I have worked for the same company for almost fifteen years and for the most part, have been treated well there.
  • I am thankful for my cirtters who are always ready to cuddle and love me.
I hope that you are having a wonderful day with your friends and family.
Nov 25, 2015

Ramblings




  • We had our Thanksgiving potluck on Saturday.  My job was to provide a turkey and I had a great coupon for Whole Foods for a turkey at $.99 per pound.  I went to grab one and discovered that it was a free range turkey that had never been frozen.  I wasn't sure if there would be a difference in taste but the flavor and the moistness of this turkey blew my socks off.  I think that I will only be getting free range turkeys in the future.
  • I understand why all the candidate put signs up all over the place but I really feel that there should be stiff fines levied against the candidates personally if there are any signs left out after the elections.  I could see giving them two weeks to clean up the mess but why should us taxpayers have to pay for the public services picking up their litter.  Isn't that why there is such a large fine against littering?


  • I was lucky enough to be chosen by Blueberry Cove Beads to receive one of their monthly kits.  Just look at all the goodies that came with the kit (there are a few more but duplicates of what you can see).  My next mission is to create some jewelry with it.  Be sure to keep an out for the pieces.  I just love those wooden snowflake buttons.
  • I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to Windows 10.  If I absolutely hate it, I can always go back down to 7.
  • I think that my router is going out since my internet down in the office is only 5mbps which is really slow considering I should getting 150 mbps.  I know that being down a floor from the router will slow it down but it's an older router.
  •  Black tea with coconut sure makes a cold day seem warmer.  And I am not a huge fan of coconut but I have been loving it today.  I get mine through American Tea Room.  
  • Just found out that my supervisor is changing departments so I am getting a new supervisor.  Not a bad thing since the sup I am going to is one that I have been friends with for years.  He started out in the Sales department, went over to the Verizon team with me and then decided that he wanted to move up the ladder.   He has been with the company as long as I have so I won't feel as though I am training a new sup.
  • I am a bit worried about my Jindo.  BeiJing thinks that it is part of her job to come to work with me on the days that I work in my home office.  She's got her bed that she snoozes in and I enjoy her company.  So why am I worried?  My office is downstairs in the basement and her hips are starting to bother her.  And I can't see myself trying to carry a sixty pound dog down my steep stairs without killing both of us.  I think that it is getting close to time for her to retire but how to convince her without breaking her heart.
  • It's only taken a year and a half but Pooka, my wild child, will finally take treats from my fingers.  I have NO idea what was done to him before we adopted him but he has serious trust issues.
Nov 23, 2015

Gold Dust Special Challenge




I used to wear silver exclusively along with a primarily black wardrobe.  That all changed when I discovered that I look much better in gold and browns.   Now I work a lot with golds, brass and copper.



So how could I resist this special challenge that Andrew Thornton put out based around gold.  Just look at all the treasures that he put together for this challenge.  I was immediately drawn to the drop there in the upper right hand corner as well as the lavender gold vintage czech glass in kit.



I haven't knotted up any pearls in a long while but those Czech glass wheels just felt like they would be at home in such a ladylike necklace.



So I decided to listen and this necklace was born.  I also used the dainty gold clasp that Andrew sent as part of the kit.



Next up is a necklace that features that golden Lucite drop as well as the gold Czech glass crystals.  I haven't totally gotten away from wearing black so I decided to highlight all the richness with onyx beads.

Now there are thirty other designers that were able to work with this wonderful kit so be sure to stop by Andrew Thornton's blog, The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton, to see what they have designed.   It is always a delight to see where everyone ends up when we all start at the same place.

Favorite Dog Breeds



My dogs are getting older and I have started to ponder what breeds of dogs I really like.  Now I am really only considering larger dogs as I am planning on doing Final Refuge fostering for Old Dog Haven for the little guys but I do feel safer with a big one to protect the house and me.  Now let me say up front that regardless of their size, all of my dogs are part of my family and none of them are stuck in the back yard.

 Korean Jindo




This is my all around favorite breed.  They are very loyal and independent thinkers.  They also tend to be rather healthy as the AKC hasn't been messing with their breeding.  My current dog, BeiJing, is a Jindo who at twelve is as healthy as some six year olds I have seen.  They tend to be rather protective but because they aren't that common, they haven't been hit by breed bans or jacked up home owner rates.

Boxer 



Another breed that I have been considering is the Boxer.  They are a smart, fun loving dog.  They also have short hair which is a real plus for me.  My only concern about this breed is that they are rather high energy.  By the time I am done with work, I am often exhausted and my current dogs get their exercise by playing in my fenced yard.

Akita



I really tend to prefer the Asian breeds because they tend to think for themselves.  They are definitely not for everyone as they aren't the most obedient but they do tend to be really loyal and loving.  I would get an Akita in a hot second except for the fact that they have been targeted for breed bans and insane home owner's insurance rates.  

Staffordshire Bull Terrier 



Another incredible breed that has been discriminated against by insurance company and breed bans.  These dogs are patient, loyal and loving with their families yet are also very protective.  They can be absolute clowns and used to be trusted with babysitting the kids.

Rottweiler 



I think that I am seeing a pattern here.  The breeds I love tend to be the ones that can ruffle the feathers of people that don't love dogs.  They all tend to be dominant breeds that take an alpha personality to really make them shine such as the rottweiler.  These dogs are wonderful guard dogs that think they are huge lap dogs.  


Book Review: Soul and Blade



Being a mind runner isn’t easy, but catching criminals is all that matters to Jane Spears. Though her job may be gruesome, she’s not willing to stop just yet. And even as she admires the ring from her fiancé, she has no intention of letting a wedding sidetrack her work—not when she’s about to delve into the darkest mind she’s ever encountered.

As she starts to explore the twisted ruins of a sociopath’s psyche, Jane realizes she may have finally met her match. She knew this case would be a challenge, but she didn’t expect to get caught in a mind-bending nightmare. Because this irredeemable murderer seems to know something about Jane that even she doesn’t—something unspeakable lurking in her past. Can she escape the killer’s derangement unscathed and ready to walk down the aisle?


* * * * *

SOUL AND BLADE is actually the third book in the Blood and Bone series but it is the first one that I have read.  I do have to the Ms. Brown kudos for giving me enough information on the happenings that I didn't feel lost yet not so much that I felt like I was undergoing info overload.  It's a fine balance to walk and she did a great job of it.

I can't call Jane Spears a nice person but I can understand her.  She believes in an eye for an eye and doesn't care what it does to her or what it takes to complete her missions.   She has the ability to slip into a criminal's mind to discover information that they would prefer not come out.  The only problem is that she comes out of it altered or tainted every time she does.  Perhaps because she doesn't really know herself very well.

I very much enjoyed reading SOUL AND BLADE and watching Jane grow as she learns more about herself and about love.  Once I started reading this book, I had a hard time setting it aside for silly little such as meals and working.  I am sure that my readers would also enjoy it as much but I do want to give a warning about the fact that it does contain a lot of violence as well as graphic sex.  It also deals with issues such as child pornography as well the black market trade in children.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Nov 22, 2015

Book Review: The Lost Codex




In 930 CE, a revered group of scholars pen the first sanctioned Bible, planting the seed from which other major religions will grow. But in 1953, half the manuscript goes missing while being transported from Syria. Around the same time, in the foothills of the Dead Sea, an ancient scroll is discovered—and promptly stolen. Six decades later, both parchments stand at the heart of a geopolitical battle between foreign governments and radical extremists, threatening the lives of millions. With the American homeland under siege, the president turns to a team of uniquely trained covert operatives including FBI profiler Karen Vail, Special Forces veteran Hector DeSantos, and FBI terrorism expert Aaron Uziel. Their mission: Find the stolen documents and capture—or kill—those responsible for unleashing a coordinated and unprecedented attack on US soil.


* * * * * 

I wasn't really sure just what I was getting into with this novel as I am not a member of one of the major religions effected by the documents mentioned in this book.  That might be a good thing though as I didn't have anything to prove or object too when I started the book.  

I actually picked up THE LOST CODEX because I have read a few books featuring Karen Vail and have very much enjoyed them.  She is an interesting character who has moved up from the NYCPD into being a profiler with the FBI.  In this book, Karen's career has taken another interesting leap where she is working with a whole alphabet of agencies trying to find the lost documents.   

This book was fast paced for the most part and intriguing.  I enjoyed learning more about Karen's associates Uzi and Hector as well as Karen herself.  I was also taken to several different locations such as Paris, Israel and Gaza.  If I had any criticism about the plot itself was how everything seemed to drag to a halt as they were dealing with the various official channel but I think that we have all experienced this.  

I find THE LOST CODEX to be a great addition to the Karen Vail saga and I recommend it to any of my readers who enjoy her story as I do.  

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Nov 19, 2015

Book Review: Lev




From the moment Lev Leokov spots the young woman hiding behind her hair in the middle of the gentleman's club, he can't take his eyes off of her.
For the very first time in his life, he is affected. Having been told his entire life that he can't process or understand emotion, he considers it a big deal.

When Mina Harris gets caught red-handed with a wallet that isn't hers, she falls apart. She's tired, lonely and hasn't eaten in days.

Lev offers her an ultimatum... A nice warm bed, a hot meal and a job, or the cops.

Mina takes her chances with Lev.
After all, a person with nothing has nothing left to lose.


* * * * *

When I have a friend tell me that she has found a book that I just have to read, I take her seriously because she is usually right.  And in this case, this book is so good that I have to share it with everyone.  

The hero in this book is Lev Leokov.  It never comes out and states as such but I am sure that he has Aspergers or something else in the Autism Spectrum.  His brother and sister have taught him how to react to social cues but he is quiet and lonely.  Lev knows the definition for emotions but doesn't think that he feels them until he rescues Mina when she steals his brother's wallet.

Mina has been living on the streets for years but it has finally come to the point where she is ready to sell herself just to get some food so she can survive.  Instead, the opportunity to steal a wallet presents itself but she finds that she has been caught by Lev.  When he offers her the choice between jail or a job, Mina figures that she doesn't have anything to lose by taking the job.

As Mina gets to know Lev, she discovers that he is different but in a good way.  She quickly learns to trust him and begins to fall in love with him.  Watching their love grow is magical.

This is the first love story that I have had the opportunity to read where one of the main characters has the Autism Spectrum and I was entranced with the story.  My husband has a mild case of Aspergers so I can attest to how rewarding it can be to take the time to build up the trust and love.  I highly recommend Lev to any readers who enjoy a good love story that can get rather steamy as they connect.  I know that I plan on searching out this authors other books and dive in.
Nov 18, 2015

Ramblings



  • I know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday is coming.  I am looking forward to it and have been trying to save up so I can take advantage of the sales.  So why oh why do all of my favorite artisans put up all these beautiful beads to tempt me?
  • My shoulder is really starting to act up.  I have been trying to stretch it out since I don't have the time to go to a physical therapist with my work hours.  I think the next step is surgery.  The good thing is that it isn't my right shoulder so if I need surgery, I can at least feed myself.
  • Found myself a new podcast that I have fallen in love with.  It's Edict Zero which is a science fiction audio drama series.  It's in the third season so I have quite a few episodes to catch up on.  In my mind this is a good thing as I hate to wait on the next episode of anything be it a book, a television series or a podcast.
  • I find it sad that we make a big deal out of holidays like Easter and MLK but Veteran's Day will slip by unnoticed.  Unless you work for a bank or the government, it's not a day that one expects to get off even.
  • I think that someone is telling me that I need to get back into shape.  I just won a bike through work.  Think I will be riding to the thrift stores this coming summer. 
  • I am so sad about the people that lost their lives in Paris.  I don't understand why people think that violence is the answer.  It just breeds more hate and pain.
  •  Getting some really nasty wind storms.  I am crossing my fingers that we don't lose power.  I could just imagine going to a hotel with my menagerie of dogs and cats.
  • I just spent 45 minutes working on fixing an order for service.  And it's not even one I will get paid for.  Why can't people just do the job right the first time.
  • Now is the time I should be filling up Shaiha Designs.  I have the jewelry ready to go but I can't seem to get the weather to cooperate.  If it is pretty enough for pics, I am at work and vice versa.

Nov 17, 2015

Book Review: Dead In Her Tracks





On Christmas morning, Solitude, Oregon, unwraps murder…
 
This wasn’t how Police Chief Zane Duncan expected to spend his first Christmas with fellow officer and girlfriend Stevie Taylor. But when a local motel calls in the discovery of a dead body, the couple’s holiday takes a grim turn. This is the second murder in Solitude within the week, despite the fact that their primary suspect is already in custody. Together, Zane and Stevie must face a disturbing truth—their small town may be harboring two killers.

As their investigation digs deep into the backgrounds of newcomers and longtime residents alike, Zane and Stevie also struggle to adjust to life under the same roof. Even if the stress of homicides and cohabitation don’t bring an end to the couple, the murderer lying in wait just might.

                                                                  * * * * *

DEAD IN HER TRACKS is the second novella set in Solitude Oregon.  This story focuses on another of the Taylor sisters and her boyfriend Zane.  I do have to say that the Taylor clan do lead interesting lives and the sisters tend to find strong men to compliment their strengths.

I rather enjoyed this novella as it was just long enough for me to feel that I have really gotten to know Stevie and Zane.  There is some tension as there is a killer running around loose in this small town but I found the story to be more about the two main characters and how they work together.   Carly and Bruce from the first book do make short appearances in DEAD IN HER TRACKS also.

As my readers know, I don't tend to read a lot of novellas as I feel they just don't have the time to fully flesh out the characters.  I didn't find that to be the case in this book and while it is part of the series, I feel that it would stand nicely on its own.  I do recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense and are looking for a quicker read.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.


Nov 15, 2015

Book Review: The Thirteenth Tower




In adversity lies strength beyond imagining.

Abandoned as a baby, young Emelyn’s life as a housemaid in the quiet village of Fallow is unremarkable—and empty. That is, until a host of magical creatures arrives and inflicts terrible misdeeds on the townsfolk. Inexplicably immune to their enchantments, Emelyn joins a pair of Magi intent on stopping the cause of the trouble—and who claim to know of her parents, promising Emelyn answers to a lifetime of questions.

But the answers Emelyn seeks prove to be more elusive than she hoped, and the world outside Fallow more perilous than she imagined. Magical creatures roam the land over, attacking yet another town before coming after Emelyn. The key to her survival—and finding her family—lies deep within her, if only she can conquer her doubts and believe she is more powerful than she ever dreamed.

In a journey that explores facing one’s fears amidst the uncertainties of an unknown world, The Thirteenth Tower is a magical tale of discovery, growth, and of love’s enduring strength. 


* * * * *

THE THIRTEEN TOWER  is a magical tale of growing up and discovering what one wonders a person is capable of.  From the very first page, I felt that I was truly in a different world compliments of Ms. Snider's marvelous world building.  

Emelyn was deserted as a baby and raised by the cook in the manor house as a servant.  It was a hard life but she never expected otherwise though she would have loved to have known who her parents were and why they deserted her.  Her life suddenly changes when the village of Fallow is attacked by magical creatures.  

Emelyn starts a journey with two Magi who claim to know who her parents are and a young man named Corran who isn't quite what he appears to be.  During this journey, Emelyn will meet new people both human and magical.  She will gain confidence in herself and discover gifts that she had never dreamed she might possess.

I have found that I really love Ms. Snider and her fantasy books.  THE THIRTEENTH TOWER is no exception.  I highly recommend this book for readers of all ages as it is sure to delight.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Nov 13, 2015

Superstition Blog Hop




It has always amazed me how so many people are convinced that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day.  I have always found it to be particularly lucky.  Perhaps that is because everyone else is drawing the bad luck to themselves.



Anyways when one of my Facebook friends, Tammy Adams of Paisley Lizard,  came up with the brilliant idea to have a hop on Friday the 13th featuring black cats, I was all for it.  After all my familiar is a black cat who happens to be rather camera shy.



Tammy sent all of the designers selected to participate a lovely polymer black cat focal.  I absolutely loved the way the black and silver shimmer together as a background for the cat.  (I do want to apologize for the pics.  It seems that the only pretty days perfect to take pics happen when I am at work and can't take advantage of them).



I wanted to play up those lovely shimmers and I came across a black stone in my stash that had glints of silver.  I wish I knew just what the stone is as I would love to get more but it happens to be one where the label fell off. 



I knotted the unknown stone beads together with waxed linen and a fun cat clasp.  I really like this necklace and am torn between giving it as a Yule gift to a friend that is as nuts about cats as I am or putting it up at Shaiha Designs. 

Now I am really looking forward to seeing what all the other designers made using this delightful focal. Be sure to check them out and show them some love also.


Tammy Adams (Hostess)
Renee Hong
Betony Maiden
Coral Law
Lee Koopman
Jeanette Belmont
Shai Williams
Beth McCord
Robin Lynne Showstack
Lori Blanchard
Deb Fortin
Michelle McCarthy
Maria Rosa Sharrow
Kim Dworak
Divya N
Karin Grosset Grange
Mowse Doyle
Rebecca White
Shawneen Fagnani
Catherine King
Brook Bock
Kari Asbury
Nan Smith
Carolyn Lawson
Linda Anderson
Ann Schroeder
Melissa Trudinger
Kathy Lindemer