Jul 31, 2015

Ramblings



  • Why is it that when I am standing in the shower, I come up the best ponderings to include in this post?  Then I have to twirl them around in my mind until I can make it to my computer or phone so I don't forget them.  My short term memory sucks though I am not sure if it is due to age, some of the drugs I take for my fibro or the fact that I have grown more reliant on Seri.
  • I can't wait until the drawer units I ordered come in.  I have a huge pile of stone strands that are becoming tangled and impossible to search through that need to be organized. I know that somewhere in there,  I have some amber, some pertified wood (purchased legally) and some... well you get the idea.
  • I don't know why I feel guilty when my body decides I need a down day.  Yesterday was such a day.  I had a fantastic case of insomnia the night before and I never really woke up yet I wasn't able to take a nap.  Got up and did Saje's running around but then everything was put off until today.  And I feel guilty though not sure why.
  • Goddess, it seems like time slips by much faster now.  When I was paying the power bill, I noticed that we have been living here for almost five years.  It doesn't seem like it has been that long but hey... It does mean that I am really good at procrastination.  I still haven't painted the walls in my office.

  • Last Sunday it was in the nineties.  Today we have almost black skies and thunder.  We can really use the rain though. 

Jul 30, 2015

Review: In The Air Tonight



Four centuries ago, in a small Scottish village, three baby girls escaped the wrath of a witch hunter. Today, one young woman will learn about her secret history, her heart's destiny, and the sisters she never knew she had...

With her blue-black hair and dark eyes, Raye Larsen has never fit in with the Scandinavian community of New Bergin, Wisconsin. Being adopted is part of the reason she feels like an outsider, but what really sets Raye apart is her ability to see dead people. Everywhere.

She’s learned to keep her visions to herself . . . until she stumbles onto the ghost of a murder victim who needs Raye’s help. Enter Bobby Doucet, a distractingly handsome homicide detective who has been tracking a killer all the way from New Orleans. Could this be the break in his case he’s been looking for all along?

Meanwhile, the deeper Raye gets involved with the case—and with Bobby—the closer she comes to unlocking the mystery of her own origins. What she discovers about herself could destroy everything she knows . . . and everyone she loves. Is finding the truth worth the risk?


* * * * *

I count myself lucky enough to be asked to review this trilogy as the last one is being released in early August.   I tend to really enjoy trilogies that follow family members and three sisters just brings to mind Charmed.

Raye immediately caught my interest with her 'issue' with ghosts and being the outsider as I moved so much that I never really fit in anywhere.  Though being a kindergarten teacher...shudder...  Anyways, I fell in love with the character right off the bat and wanted the best for her.  While she has real issues with abandonment, she is a plucky character.  And Bobby is sex personified starting with the Southern French accent.  I have always been a sucker for the Creole.

And the secondary characters are great.  I really like Jenn, would like to learn more about Raye's father and am hoping that Bobby's character gets his own book.

This is a fast paced book with witty dialogue, combustible chemistry and delicious danger from a group of witch hunters.  That being said, I could wish that it was a longer book with more room to develop the relationship between Raye and Bobby.  With him being a cop and her abandonment issues, the speed at which they connected didn't ring right with me.

I do really think that my readers would enjoy this book and possibly series.  I know that I am planning on delving into the second book today after my errands so you will be seeing a review on HEAT OF THE MOMENT.
Jul 29, 2015

Review: Sweet As Sin




For a feisty young woman and a rock star god, love and rock 'n' roll don't mix--they ignite.

Twenty-something Kat Reid is loving life as an in-demand Hollywood makeup artist. She has absolutely no interest in rock ’n’ roll, but in order to pay the mortgage, she agrees to work on the set of a rock video for the world-famous rockers known as Bad Habit…which brings her face-to-face with Nico Nyx, lead singer of Bad Habit and Adonis in the flesh.

However, the fiercely independent Kat isn’t impressed by the hard-living, womanizing rock star. But when Nico’s model girlfriend shows up to the set drunk and Kat is tapped to replace her as the video’s sexy bride, her combustible chemistry with Nico suddenly threatens to consume the set. Nico feels it, too—and becomes determined to win Kat over, body and soul. Yet behind his rock god swagger, Nico hides a dark secret. Can he rock Kat’s world forever, or will he just break her heart?


* * * * *

We have all seen or been in relationships that seem to ignite from the moment they begin.  The lucky ones never seem to burn out.  Well that fiery, tumultuous relationship is what Kat and Nico have.  And Ms. Geissinger's deft touch on the reins made for story that demands its attention.

Kat is a spunky young woman who has overcome a rocky past to own her own home and have her own business.  Nico has overcome just as difficult of  a childhood to become a rock legend.  Together they are combustible.

There were warning signs however that made me uncomfortable such as Nico's hair trigger temper.  He might not be using his fists on Kat but the signs are there that it might happen in the future.  His insistence that she will need to change her OB GYN because he is a man.  The way he is rearranging her life without her consent.  These are all red flag that didn't make this quite a comfortable tale to hear.

I did enjoy SWEET AS SIN despite those issues mentioned because of the character of Kat and her best friends.  There is a lot of tension and danger introduced that keep the reader on the edge of their seat.  I am just not sure that I would recommend this book to my readers without the warnings about the dysfunctional relationship.
Jul 27, 2015

New Earring Mondays: Weeks 31 & 32



I feel so proud of myself in that I didn't let this post sneak up on me. Not really.  I remembered but still had the heck of a time getting a good pic of this pair of earrings. 




\
Most of my problem is that one of the major details is on the bottom.  It's that a gorgeous violet?  It's a lampwork headpin from Dry Gulch.  But see what I mean?



Here's a pic of the whole pair with the lovely flower highlighted by sari silk and lampwork beads.  Still not the best pic.  Any hints anyone on how to get a good pic of this pair?



This next pair was much easier to photograph.  Beautiful lampwork hearts from EarthShine Beads in the UK, dyed agate beads and copper findings.  I find that copper and purple is such a rich combo of colors. 

Hmmmm...I must have been in a purple mood.  Not usually a color that I really work with a lot but come to think of it, I made a necklace in purple just last Wednesday though it will have to wait for the grand reveal. 

Now these New Earrings Monday is actually the brainchild of  SaraJo of SJ Designs and there are several different designers who join in on the fun.  So be sure to click on the link to see what everyone else has made in the last couple weeks.
Jul 25, 2015

Review: Obsession with Vengence




Maksim Kirov is a mobster who gets what he wants, both at his posh gentleman’s club in Hell’s Kitchen and in the bedroom. Sexy, dangerous, and obsessed with control, he’s risen through the ranks to become a highly respected leader in the tight-knit Tarasov crime syndicate. He rules with an iron fist…until he meets Sydney Martin.

The Australian-born Sydney is determined to refuse Maks’s advances, despite their electrifying chemistry. The owner of a neighboring nightclub, Sydney rules her own domain. But when a deal with a Mexican drug cartel goes terribly wrong, she has no choice but to turn to Maksim and the Tarasov organization for protection. Could giving in to their intense attraction be what saves both Maks and Sydney? Or will their all-consuming passion—and her shocking secret—destroy their lives?

In the hot and scandalous third installment of the Wanted Men series, lust and loyalty clash in New York’s mob underworld.


* * * * *

It has been a while since I became so engrossed in a book that I forgot the passage of time.  Ms. Haviland has such a deft touch with her characters that they quickly became friends.  I couldn't read fast enough because I wanted to be sure that Sydney was going to be all right.  

And Maksim.  Yes he is a hard ass but considering his past, its a wonder that he allows anyone to get close to him.  He needs a strong woman to stand up to him and Sydney is just such a woman.  

We are talking about Russian mobsters so there is a lot of unsavory goings on but what really impressed me is Ms.Haviland shows them as so human.  All of the men are protective of the women while trying to find ways to let them live their lives and very protective of the children.  I really enjoyed 'meeting' Maksim and all of his friends.  Some of them have had their own books that I am going to have to dig up and read.

I highly recommend OBSESSION WITH VENGANCE to any of my readers who enjoy a romantic suspense filled with danger, suspense, love. friendship and hot set.

 
Jul 24, 2015

Ramblings



  • I really need to work on my impulse control.  When I do up a blog post, I always try to give a link to the shops if I have any artisan goods in my jewelry so that others can patronize their stores.  Well sometimes when I hit their stores to get the link, I find goodies that I can't resist such as that mermaid above.  *sigh*  Seriously who could resist?  Oh and it is from Firefly Design Studio.
  • I can't believe that I have to waste my time and call Group Health.  I received a bill from them that shouldn't be because A. all lab work is covered in my plan and B. I have reached my deductible.  I just wish that I could bill them for my hours.
  • Well meeting my percentages at work just got more difficult.  Apparently too many of us where doing great on their current plan so they raised the numbers that we need to get to 'Achieve Expectations'.  At least I know based on past history that if enough of us stumble, they will lower those requirements.
  • Talk about a miserable weekend.  It was just too hot.  And I ended up with a nasty headache due to said heat.  
  • In my mind, climate change is a fact.  We are seeing it here and around the world.
  •  
Jul 21, 2015

Review: Witches Be Burned




Nexi Jones has lost her family, she’s been stripped of her guardian duties, and she’s still learning the ins and outs of white magic. At least she has Kyden, the smoldering hot elite guardian who’s been there for her every step of the way. But just as Nexi completes her training, tragedy strikes the Otherworld when a fellow guardian is murdered by a group of rogue vampires. Ready or not, she and Kyden trek into the Earthworld to hunt down a killer—and Nexi alone will be put to the ultimate test.

Although Kyden knows that Nexi must fight her own battles, his guardian instincts are raging as he struggles to keep her close. The ruthlessness of these vampires is like nothing he’s ever seen. And at their helm is the Black Witch Astoria, a demon with one burning desire: to shed Nexi’s blood in the name of vengeance. What troubles Kyden even more, though, is the warlock who covets Nexi’s heart. Let the devil do his worst . . . all Kyden can do is love and protect Nexi until his last breath.


* * * * *

WITCHES BE BURNED was my first taste of Ms. Kennedy's Magic & Mayhem series and I do have to save that it definitely piqued my interest.   It is filled with larger then life Guardians, Vampires, Werewolves and Witches who are all very human when you strip them to their cores.  

Nexi was raised as a human which gives her Guardian lover Kyden all kinds of trials and tribulations.  She is determined that she does her share of the work and faces her share of the danger while all he wants to do is protect her. And now there is a Warlock out to win Nexi's heart.

I found that I rather enjoyed WITCHES BE BURNED.  It does deal with dark subjects such as murder but in such a manner that it is three steps from reality.  This gives the book a light hearted feel.  It definitely fits into my brain candy category and I would recommend it to any of my readers who are looking for a break from the drudge of every day life.
Jul 18, 2015

Beach Blog Hop





I will admit, beaches have been on my mind.  Not only did I get a chance to go to the Long Beach on my birthday but my 'From The Sea' to benefit the World Wildlife Fund (remember that 25% of the purchase price goes to the WWF) went up for sale on July 15 at Jewelry Because.  So I have had the oceans on the brain in my thoughts and participating in this blog hop was a no brainer. 



My first offering is a pair of earrings that I went nuts trying to get a good pic of.  I used a white/clear cultured sea glass sand dollar from ZNetShows as first link and it just flat out refused to all me to get a good picture of it.  Anyways this is a fun pair of earrings as they make little tinkling sounds as the shell hits the glass.  They are going to be donated. 



Next up is a bracelet that features an artisan, lampwork focal (unfortunately I have this focal forever and I didn't jot down the artist that made it) that just screams the Caribbean waters to me.   This focal is hand-knotted along with some more sea glass and glass pearls that were part of the kit I received.



Now while I do wear some burnt oranges, this is not a color that I normally work with.  When I opened up my kit and saw the orange sea glass, I was stumped.  Then I started looking through some focals that I had picked up from Firefly Design Studio when she was doing a destash.  I had just tucked them away because I was planning on doing a blog hop where I would send the focals out.  As you can guess, I never got around to it.  For a change, my procrastination worked in my favor.



Doesn't that colors of the sea glass set off that focal beautifully?  I hand-knotted up the sea glass and the glass pearls on a turquoise waxed linen and finished it all off with a nautical pewter clasp.

Now this is a blog hop so there are several other designers to visit.  Grab your mug of tea or cup of coffee and check out the rest of the eye candy

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations
Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
Kari Asbury, Hippie Chick Design
Susan Anderson, La Main Tresor
Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue
Margaret Pelech, Margaret Pelech's Blog
Lisa Prewitt Knappenberger, LiRaysa Designs
Carol Briody, A Beads Life
Karin Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot
Shaiha Williams, Shaiha’s Ramblings
Gloria Allen, Gloria Allen Designs
Rosee Floss Hanemaayer, Silver Penny Artisans
Saundra Farren, Something by Saundra
Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool Jewelry
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Linda Anderson, From the Bead Board

Jul 17, 2015

Ramblings




  • Wow where has the week gone?  I just can't believe that it is Friday again already.  And here I thought that once I was home, it would be easier to get the posts up.  Well actually I can't say that it hasn't been.  I have had a variety of posts up.  Just lately I have been forgetting about my post.
  • I had a friend comment on one of my Facebook posts and it really brought a smile to my face.  Apparently she is having her granddaughter help her make a folder with my jewelry pics in it.  Said granddaughter has enjoyed this so much that she almost forgot about her morning, or in this case all day, sickness.
  • I stumbled across a sale at Dakota Stones and picked up those beauties above.  Got a few strands of bronzite as well as some lapis, agate and goldstone.  Can't wait to play with it.
  • Little Miss Boo is back to being a workaholic.  She doesn't like me to even take a break or lunch.  Too bad she can't earn a wage while she is snoozing away.
  • I love Swap-bot!!!  I had an international swap based on a profile you fill out.  I just got in a bunch of chocolate from Finland!  So cool.
  • One of my best friend's mother passed away last week.  Apparently she died in her sleep, which is a good way to go, but she will leave a terrible void in the lives of her daughter and grandchildren.   All light and love to this family.
Jul 16, 2015

Endless Sky Challenge




This has to be have been one of my favorite challenges to date.  Aquamarine just happens to be one of my favorite stone.  It's light blue is the color of the sky as well as the ocean.



Andrew  of  The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton was extremely generous as always.  Along with the strand of aquamarine, he also included a selection of premium Czech glass (both new and vintage), vintage lucite, quartz rock crystal, vintage glass, waxed Irish linen,hand-dyed recycled sari silk ribbon, aquamarine chip strand, vintage Venetian seed beads, and a Luxury Bead Blend.  I made up a few designs and have quite a bit left to use in other pieces.





First up are a couple of pair of earrings that I plan on donating to Ears To You.  The beads are from this dragon's hoard and I added the charms/dangles from my stash.




Next up is a necklace that features the 'mystery component' that Andrew always sends along.  This time, it was a beautiful blue focal with puffy clouds.  I added some cracked glass along with some beads from the Luxury Bead Blend. The little butterfly clasp adds summer touch to this necklace.



Since I was sold on this challenge by the Aquamarine, I had to design up a necklace celebrating it in some of its various forms.  This necklace has Aquamarine nuggets, beads and chips along with one of my hoarded Blu Mudd focals.  I finished it off with pewter beads and clasp.



Finally it is summer and I have had oceans and the beaches on my mind.  This casual necklace combines aquamarine chips, a brass starfish that I applied patina too and brass chain.  It's long enough to just toss on as you head out to enjoy your summer day.

All of the necklaces will be part of my August update to Jewelry Because where a portion of the sale is donated to the World Wildlife Fund however if you are interested in one, drop me a line.  I am always ready to give my readers a discount before my jewelry hits the website.  And yes, I still donate the same amount to WWF.

Now this is a challenge and there are a few of us artists participating.  We all start out with the same beads and it is a real pleasure to see where everyone's muse takes them.  Just click here to get a chance to view some real eye candy.
Jul 15, 2015

Review: The Gladiator's Mistress




Phaedra, a dutiful daughter of Rome’s most influential senator, has no choice but to marry a man chosen by her father. But a chance encounter with handsome gladiator Valens Secundus sends her pulse racing—and, for the first time, makes her wish she could choose her own fate. They make each other a promise: she’ll insist on having the right to select her next husband, and he’ll do everything within his power to win his freedom.

A gladiatorial champion, Valens has fought his way up from poverty to become a star in the arena. The only two things he craves are his freedom and the luscious Phaedra, both seemingly far out of reach. But four years after their fateful meeting, Phaedra returns to Rome and soon becomes a widow, and Valens answers to no one but himself. They’re finally free to explore their fiery passion—while evading a powerful and wealthy new suitor of Phaedra’s—until Valens must return to the arena one last time. And in order for Phaedra to control her own destiny and claim her love, Valens will need to survive the battle of his life.

* * * * *

A lot of books set in Rome bring out the power of this city.  THE GLADIATOR'S MISTRESS instead shows the powerlessness of the women and the slave class and yet how two individuals rose above it.  Phaedra has always played by the book being the dutiful daughter and the dutiful wife.  The one thing she asked for herself was the right to choose her next husband but even that is dependent on whether her father will honor his promise.  

Valens has a good master and once he has retired from the arena, he is set free to care for his sister.  He finds that even as a free man, he isn't complete without Phaedra whom he only met once.  And even free and wealthy, he isn't of the social standing to claim her.

Ms. Bokal has a true gift of sweeping her readers into the story.  I immediately found that I really liked both Phaedra and Valens. I wanted to ring Phaedra's father's neck as he tried to go back on his promise to let her choose her own husband even as I understood that he was a weak man rather then a bad man.  I was holding my breath when Valens stepped back into the arena to save his sister.

She shows both the splendor of Rome and the squalor and I could easily picture myself walking the streets as both a slave or being carried about in a litter.   I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like a taste of Rome from the viewpoints of the underprivileged, the women and the slaves.
Jul 13, 2015

New Earrings Monday: Weeks 29 & 30



I almost forgot to get this up and posted.  Thank goodness, I had already made my earrings and just needed to get some pics done.




This pair is made using beads,enameled leaves and hand forged bead caps all from Sue Beads.  Since these were sent as part of the Swap N Hop treasures, I plan on keeping them for myself.



This next pair is made using some polymer dangles made by JKD Studios and some Czech glass.  I haven't decided yet whether they are going to be donated or added to my shop.  What do you think?

Now these New Earrings Monday is actually the brainchild of  SaraJo of SJ Designs and there are several different designers who join in on the fun.  So be sure to click on the link to see what everyone else has made in the last couple weeks.
Jul 10, 2015

Ramblings




  • It has been a busier week though I was lax on taking a lot of pics.
  • I did however take some pictures of the collection that will be live on Tuesday July 15th.
  • Managed to get the roof totally moss free...finally.
  • I was planning on going back up to finish this last week but couldn't make myself get off the ladder.  I don't mind the heights but climbing from the ladder to the roof terrifies me.  Guess I don't have as wide of shoulders as I thought.  
  • I managed to just relax on Wednesday and finish up three necklaces.  The one above will be uploaded in August but I do like to give my readers the first shot at it.  If interested, drop me a line and we will talk.  The focal is from The Classic Bead and the stones are Amazonite.
  • I have fallen in love with Amazonite.  It ranges in color from the bluer as above to a light green. 
  • Now that I am working from home again, I have been able to start editing my husband's book again. 
  • I am still annoyed about the Melting Pot fiasco and am planning on sending a letter to the newspaper about it.
Jul 8, 2015

Sneak Peek




I have always supported charities and one of my favorite happens to be the World Wildlife Fund.  Now I am happy to say that I will be having a collection go live on July 15th where 25% of the cost each design will be donated to WWF.  I can't think of anything better then doing something I love to help support a cause I believe in. 



And since I love my readers also, I wanted to give you a sneak peek of some of the designs from my new From The Sea collection.



They will be available next Tuesday from Jewelry Because and be sure to check out what is available now from other designers.  We are all supporting charities near and dear to our hearts.

Jul 4, 2015

Happy 4th!




I hope that everyone is having a great Fourth of July!  We usually spend the day at home since I have a couple dogs that really aren't hip on the whole fireworks thing.  I don't even mind it now that I am older though since I am a July baby, I did my share of partying over this weekend.





Now that's not to say that I haven't had fun.  I have been off since the 1st and we drove down to the coast on the 2nd to escape this insane heat.  We took the coastal highway and boy was that a gorgeous drive.



It was an utterly beautiful day and since it was before more people started their holiday weekend, not so busy.  In fact, Westport was dead with most of the shops closed.  That was rather sad.  The town looked as though it was dying.



Our goal was Long Beach because I seem to remember that it had a lot of tide pools.  Well I aimed for the wrong beach because Long Beach was fine sand and a lot of cool water but no tide pools.  We still had fun exploring the town though the one bead shop I found was rather disappointing.



I did find this neat penguin carved stone box in one of the curio shops.  It is heavier so I hope it is Pooka proof.  Otherwise he steal things from my table and hides then in his den.  I swear this dog should have been a crow.



Yesterday, I made it to the Tacoma Glass Museum.  It was smaller then I expected but I was entranced in watching the glass masters work glass in the Hot Shop.  There were also some fine pieces of glass there.



I hope that everyone else has a happy, healthy and most important of all, a safe Fourth of July weekend.  I am off to get pictures taken of my collection that will be going up on July 15th at Jewelry Because.
Jul 3, 2015

Ramblings



  • I have discovered that using a spray-on sun tan lotion (though it really isn't a lotion but I can't figure out what else to call it.) is enough to change my skin chemistry so copper will turn me green.  I do have to say that it confused me considering I had been wearing that copper bangle constantly for months.
  • Got together with some old friends I hadn't seen in months on Saturday.  It was grand but kind of baffling when I consider that I have known them for almost fifteen years.  Why is that baffling?  When I was younger, I was such a gypsy that to know and keep in touch with anyone for two years for quite the accomplishment.  You really do slow down as you get older.


  • I don't care what people say about climate change.  We are definitely experiencing it here in Washington.  We didn't really have a winter and it got up into the ninetys yesterday.  And then today we wake up beautiful thunderstorm weather.  Unfortunately, the storm never really hit.
  • Oh yeah.  I am working from home again.  Finally.  Had some snaffles with my computer on Thursday and Friday but everything is working right again.  That means you might actually start seeing some more posts from me.  Thank you for sticking around during my drought.
Jul 1, 2015

Review: The Field Trip




An adventure mixed with a touch of fantasy. Add a twist of love.

Although clumsy with women, botany professor Ross Barton possesses the quality of fearlessness when confronting danger. Relieved to be escaping routine school work and a bad relationship for a field research trip, a strange woman and danger are the last of his expectations.

Jay, an awkward young woman unwilling to disclose her past, begins a solitary hike into the forest with a pet concealed in a box. She claims the pet is a cat.

Rumors are spreading about odd lights in the night skies of New England.

A flight instructor reports that the government quarantined an area of Vermont woods.

All trails intersect on The Field Trip.


* * * * *

I started off on a bad foot with this book.  It reads as though it was written for the young adult audience with adult subject matter.  If I had been simply reading the book for pleasure, I would have put it aside after the first chapter.  But since it was for a review, I kept on reading.  This book is definitely a case where first impressions aren't always the correct ones.

As the story continued, I found myself becoming invested in Ross.  He really is a nice guy who finds himself in the strangest situations.  And he has a tendency to act without thinking.  That is how he found himself involved with Jay who is a rather strange young woman.  

The story is impossible, rather improbably and yet was very enjoyable.  Once I put aside my disbelief and decided to go along for the ride, I found myself laughing at some of the unique ways Ross has getting into and out of situations.

I do recommend this book to my readers that are just looking for a fun read.  You can't go wrong with a book that brings on a case of the giggles.