Aug 28, 2015

Ramblings




  • I haven't really been doing a lot of pondering this week as I have been dealing with a toothache.  It finally subsided at least for the moment though I know that I need to get into the dentist.  I am just waiting until I have sick days again as any time I go to the dentist, I ended up with my jaw locked up the next day.  Not fun when you talk on the phone for a living.
  • I discovered that I like the taste of banana rum and it works well for a toothache.
  • I don't mind doctors.  I really don't but I absolutely hate going to the dentist and I know that a lot of people feel the same.  Why would someone want to join one of the world's most hated professions?  I can't see why anyone would get join in working in such a tight space that a lot of times has a nasty aroma and be hated for it.
  • Got good news on my home owner's insurance.  Apparently we cleaned up the roof so well that I got a discount on my yearly premium.  Very happy about that since I had one insurance cancel me and said I needed to get a new roof to be covered.  What's amusing is that this is the same company.  Just my agent works for a different company.
  • Went out and got my hair cut on Wednesday.  I had 6 inches cut off and layers added.  And it's still long enough to pull up in a pony tail.  I love it!  So much lighter.  I wonder if the weight of my hair was adding to my headaches since I have so much hair and it is so thick.  Heck it takes hours for it to dry and if I pull it up when it is still wet, I can just forget about it drying.  It's still damp when I take it down.
Aug 26, 2015

Review: The Banished of Muirwood





In a stand-alone series set in the world of Muirwood, eighteen-year-old Maia is the exiled princess of Comoros and heir to the throne. As a result of her father’s ceaseless need for authority, she was left disinherited and forced to live as a servant in her enemy’s home. When the king invites chaos into the land by expelling the magical order known as the Dochte Mandar, Maia finds herself on a perilous quest to save her people. To survive, she must use magic she has learned in secret—despite the fact that women are forbidden to control it. Hunted by enemies at every turn, Maia realizes that danger lurks within her, too. Her powers threaten to steal not only her consciousness but also her sense of right and wrong. Can she set herself free and save the realm she loves—even if that realm has forgotten her?

* * * * *

It's not often that a new fantasy series knocks my socks off and when it happens, boy am I glad that I get to tell the world.  THE BANISHED OF MUIRWOOD is set in a new world with just enough of the familiar to make it comfortable, just enough politics to keep one alert, just enough magic to make it fantastical and just enough danger to keep the reader on the edge of their seat.

In the world of Comoros, Maia is an exception to the rule because she was taught to read, write and to think which is something that women just don't do.  Unfortunately, she has a weak willed father who has far too much power and determination to get his own way.  Now Maia has to try to save her people and undo the damage her sire has done.  She is a great character with a lot going for her.  She has an inner strength that carries her through circumstances that would destroy most people and a warm heart that really cares for the people and the world around her.  

And she isn't the only stand out character.  Mr. Wheeler has done a great job with all of the secondary characters though there are a few that I would like to learn still more about.  And don't get me started on the magic system.  It definitely has its own flavor that will have the reader coming back for me.  

As you can probably tell, I do recommend this series to my readers who enjoy epic fantasy.  I will be following this author myself as he has more books coming out as well as a graphic novel set in this world.  If you would like to keep an eye on his releases, here is his website Iduma:  The Worlds of Jeff Wheeler.
Aug 23, 2015

Book Review: Awake




Scarlett doesn’t remember anything before the age of five. Her parents say it’s from the trauma of seeing her house burn down, and she accepts the life they’ve created for her without question—until a car accident causes Scarlett to start remembering pieces of an unfamiliar past.

When a new guy moves into town, Scarlett feels an instant spark. But Noah knows the truth of Scarlett’s past, and he’s determined to shield her from it...because Scarlett grew up in a cult called Eternal Light, controlled by her biological parents.


* * * * *

This book was eerie right from the beginning.  I just knew that there was so much more going on then what I could pick up from reading.  I thought that it was great that Noah was there to help shield Scarlett from her past but he definitely has his own agenda and once that agenda becomes clear I found that a lot of the tension ebbed. 

I really liked both Scarlett and Noah.  They were both easy to relate to and some of their issues brought back the ones that I had when I was a teen.  There were a few errors in consistency that I picked up  but they weren't glaring enough to pull most people out of the story.  I really appreciate the fact that the ending didn't feel rushed and while some strings were left uncut to make room for the next book, I found AWAKE's conclusion to be rather satisfying.

I do recommend this book to any of my younger readers and those that are young of heart.  No sex scenes that parents need to be worried about either.
Aug 22, 2015

Cultured Sea Glass Challenge




I have been working a lot with cultured sea glass beads lately and finding that I really enjoy it.  It has such a wonderful feel and comes in so many delightful colors.  So you can imagine my response when Lisa Lodge of Pine Ridge Treasures offered up a challenge.

Now par for the course, I can't find the pic that I took off all the wonders in the kit but I can show off one of the designs that I made up.  It will all be going up for sale at Jewelry Because next month.




Lisa sent along a wonderful sea glass pendant that has a foot print that just needed to be made up into a necklace.  Isn't that just the cutest sea glass bead?



I added in some of the sea glass beads that were in the kit as some more sea glass and Tiaria crystals that were in my own stash.  I then knotted it all together with Irish Waxed Linen for a casual look that will go from a day on the water to a sea food dinner.
Aug 21, 2015

Ramblings




  • Just what is 'old ladies' hair?  My husband made the request that when I get my hair cut, I don't get an old ladies' haircut.  I have longer, wavy hair which is incredibly heavy and with this hot weather it is miserable.  So I want to get it cut but not in an old ladies cut.
  • Why do people call a business when they are busy?  I just got a call from a possible customer who as soon as I answered the call, asked me to wait so he could finish an email.  We then got to talking about services and he put me on hold a couple times to take other calls.  I know that if I was calling a business, I wouldn't be that rude.  Of course, I also make sure that I have something to write with if I am calling for information,.
  •  
Aug 16, 2015

Review: Trollhunters




In San Bernardino, California, children are going missing.

The townspeople don't believe the rumours of trolls, but fifteen-year-old Jim Jnr knows that they're a very real threat. At night, is anyone safe?

TROLLHUNTERS is a funny, gruesome and undeniably del Toro-esque adventure perfect for teen readers and fans of Pan's Labyrinth.


* * * * *

This is one of these reviews that are difficult to write.  The writing is first rate and the dialogue rather amusing.   I can easily see this book being made into a movie with very little changes but the cinematic style of the writing just left me cold.  

Now I do believe that TROLLHUNTERS would really catch the attention of its intended audience which is young adults, especially boys between eight to thirteen.  It is full of adventure and close calls that will take them on a wild ride from the very start to the conclusion.
Aug 14, 2015

Ramblings



  • I totally spaced putting up a Ramblings last Friday.  I am so sorry.  This heat has just been wiping me out to where if I am not asleep, I don't have any energy to move.  Today seems to be the exception.  I am going to work on a couple blog posts and then off to my studio.  Have to use the energy while its around.

  • Went our to the Renn Fair last Saturday with a couple of ladies from my Red Hatter chapter.  Had a blast but par for the course, the only pics that made the cut were off animals with the one exception of that dryad.
  • I tend to enjoy technology and try to put it through its paces.  Then why can't I ever remember use my phone to take pictures when I am out?
  • Woke up to hear thunderclaps that were shaking the house.  Perfect example of 'rolling thunder'.  Too bad we didn't get any rain to go with it.
  • Woke up this morning to cooler, moist air.  We can so use this!
Aug 13, 2015

Dreaming Tree Challenge




I adore Andrew Thornton's monthly challenges and I always try to join in.  It is so much fun to see how different everyone's designs turn out even though we start from the same place.



Andrew outdid himself with this kit.  I have always been partial to flourite and find myself being drawn more and more to the color purple.  I didn't even up using most of this kit however since I have been wiped out by the heat and well...just couldn't find the energy.



I did however find what I think is a fitting home for this 'Dreaming Tree'.  I ended up using the mystery focal, the couple Czech flowers and the waxed linen.  And a beautiful strand of Miracle beads.  If you aren't familiar with Miracle beads, they are lucite beads that have multiple layers of lacquer applied.  They seem to have an inner glow which you can really see in the  pics.



And here is the whole necklace which I finished off with a brass toggle clasp.  This necklace is incredibly lightweight.  So much so that it is like wearing nothing at all.

Now grab your cuppa tea and see what everyone else has made.



Michelle McCarthy - Playing with Clay http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com/
Andrew Thornton, Nancy Noyes-Ward, Laurel Ross, Cheryl Lee Tucker, Dawn Berkebile, and Melissa Wynne http://andrew-thornton.blogspot.com/
 
Aug 12, 2015

Review: Island of the Red Mangroves



Island of Red Mangroves is the follow-up to Sarah Lark's tumultuous novel, "Island of a Thousand Springs," set in Jamaica, 1732.

-- Jamaica, 1753: Deirdre, daughter of Englishwoman, Nora Fortnam and slave Akwasi, lives a sheltered life on her family's plantation. Her stepfather, Doug, has welcomed her into his life as his own. Despite Deirdre's scandalous origin, the men of the island flock to the young beauty, but she shows no interest. That is, until she is charmed by young doctor Victor Dufresne, who asks for her hand in marriage.

-- After their lavish wedding ceremony, Victor and Deirdre embark to Saint-Domingue on the island of Hispaniola, where Deirdre can live without the burden of her mixed background. But what happens there changes everything ... 


* * * * *

This novel is a work of beauty.  Ms. Lark has done a wonderful job of drawing her readers back in time to Jamaica in the 1700.  It's full of lush descriptions of the scenery and the homes.  The reader learns about the laws and restrictions that the blacks labored under back when the sugar plantations were livelihood of a few rich whites.  

The characters themselves are just as lush and lifelike.  I did find Deirdre a bit of a spoiled brat but that is what happens when children are spoiled and pampered too much growing up.  She had never really had to face her mixed heritage due to her step-father's influence.  Victor is a very nice man.  Perhaps too nice to be able to curb some of Deirdre's inclinations.

I really enjoyed stepping in Jamaica of the 1700s and it made me move a trip there up higher on my bucket list.  This  novel makes for rather rich reading with all the sub currents of slavery, social mores and morality.  I did find the pacing to be rather slow but once you start reading, it is very easy to become engrossed. 
Aug 11, 2015

Znet Shows Reveal



It occurs to me that I haven't been the chattiest here on my blog lately.  Our insane heat has really been sapping my energy so by the time I finish the day job, I am ready to die.  No energy left even for making jewelry.

It's a good thing then that I dived right into designing when I got my beauties from ZNetShows.  The focus this time around was cultured sea glass beads which have really come to mean summer to me.  Yet another reason that I love being part of the design team since ZnetShows has some of the best and more affordable cultured sea glass that I have found.



I was asked to choose five different products that I wanted to work with.  I went to town with the black roundelles and free form dangles, the pacific blue beads and rings, and a brass chain to highlight all the beautiful colors.



My favorite design also happens to be one of the simplest.  I love this earrings!  In fact, I wore them yesterday into the office.  They are relatively light and the sea glass dangles give them great movement.




Next up is a fun, casual charm bracelet.  One that is flirty but you don't have to worry about the sea water damaging it while you play in the waves.



And of course you need earrings to go with the bracelet.



My final design was actually the first I finished.  It was the one that flashed into my thoughts as I was struggling to choose just what beads I wanted to play with.  Those rings were just so much fun to design with and the brass rings are from that chain that I got.  I have been cannibalizing it to some interesting brass circles and rings.

This was a fun challenge and all of the ZNetShow designer rose to the occasion.  To see what everyone else did as well as some good tutorials and articles, be sure to check out the Creative Spark.


Aug 8, 2015

Summer Lovin' Jewelry Design Challenge




You know me.  I can't resist a challenge especially when it is all about jewelry.  So when Shawna of  JBS Arts asked for designers to work with her ceramics, I raised my hand to volunteer.  I might have jumped around a bit to so I could make sure I caught her attention.

Now par for the course, I forgot to take any before pictures but I can tell you that I received a ceramic focal,some complimentary beads and sari silk.  They were in muted colors which tend to be my favorite even though they don't scream summer,



This is a longer necklace using Shawna's beads, some shell heishi, some vintage Czech glass along with some brass chain.  The sari silk I used as part of the focal is some that was also sent with the beads. 



I wanted to give everyone a closer look at  this focal.  It really reminds me of a seed pod in the middle of a flower. 



I made this necklace to be adjustable so it can be worn with a variety of necklines so it has a fun lobster clasp as well as a dangley.

There were a few of us that signed up to create with the beautiful ceramics from JSB Arts and I am really looking to seeing what they were sent as well as the designs they came up with.  So be sure to grab a cuppa tea and check them out.

Linda A. - http://fromthebeadboard.blogspot.com/
Kelly P. - http://travelingsideshow.blogspot.com/
Wendy S. - http://dragonflydreamers.blogspot.ca/
Lori S. - http://beadaddicted.blogspot.com
Shaiha W.  - http://www.shaihasramblings.com
Carolyn - http://Carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com
Debbie E. - https://www.facebook.com/designsbydebbi
Aug 5, 2015

Eye Candy





As many of you know, I am on the design team for ZNetShows.  Our summer edition of Creative Spark has gone live.  In it, I have some designs featuring sea glass beads as well as an article about places to visit around the Puget Sound for those who are 'beader' inclined.  Be sure to check it out!
Aug 4, 2015

Review: Smoke on the Water




Abandoned beneath a black willow tree on the banks of a northern Wisconsin creek, Willow Black spent her entire childhood in foster care. Her entire life she's had terrifying visions, and it is these visions that eventually land her in a psychiatric facility. And so Willow takes her meds and believes she is getting better. Until she meets a fellow patient who doesn't think she is crazy at all. She thinks Willow is a witch.

Willow's psychiatrist, Dr. Sebastian Crane, works hard to resist his feeling that he and Willow are destined to be together while also working to convince her that strange occurrences aren't the result of witchcraft… until he is thrown into the middle of a storm of supernatural events that can't be explained any other way.


* * * * *

Willow had much tougher time growing up then her sisters as she was in and out of foster care since she was found as a baby.  She has always had visions when she looks into water and no one to teach her how to turn it off.  One of her visions involved a man with a knife trying to kill her, so when she ran across that man, she attacked him.  That vision ended her up in a mental institution for the criminally insane.  Another vision introduced Sebastian which helped her to keep going. 

I loved the characters which were realistic.  The dialogue was witty and the plot flowed along at a good pace.  I really enjoyed the fact that secondary characters from earlier books received their time in the sun in this one. 

I enjoyed this book with its added grit to the tale but the timeline did throw me off a bit.  The first two books in this series ran one after the other whereas this last book overlapped Heat of the Moment.  I don't mind either way but I do prefer that it be consistent.

Sisters of the Craft has been a fun series to read.  One that I would categorize as brain candy because even though it touches on some dark subjects, it seems just far enough from reality to feel lighter and makes for an enjoyable and quick read.  Overall, I am very happy that I was given the opportunity to review this series. 

To see my reviews of the earlier books just click on the titles.


Review: Heat of the Moment




A spell that tore three sisters apart is broken four hundred years later, when the magic in their blood reunites them. Now, one of them will discover her gift—and reignite a love long thought lost…

Flame-haired Becca Carstairs was born to be a veterinarian. Since childhood, her affinity for animals has been special, and her healing touch nothing short of magic. But only Becca knows the truth—that she alone can hear the creatures’ voices. She’s always trusted her sixth sense… until a string of missing pets, an attempted murder, and a face from her past converge into one explosive mystery, with her at its center.

Is haunted Owen McAllister, the boy who broke her heart ten years ago, related to the sinister crimes that have peaceful Three Harbors, Wisconsin, on its guard? Or is his reappearance part of the answer to questions that have troubled her all her life? As Becca delves into her strange heritage, she’ll have to fight for her life… and the man she will always love.






* * * * *

I am not sure why but I have found in some series that the second book will lag.  I will end up reading just so I can get to the next book.  I am so happy to report that HEAT OF THE MOMENT is not such a book. If anything, this book is better then the first book.

I tend to be drawn to any book about animals and one where the heroine can actually talk to them.  I am so there. I love the character of Becca.  She is just that tad different and not quite sure why she doesn't fit with the rest of the family but she is really happy with her choice of profession.  

She had grown up with Owen and fallen in love with him before he up and left.  She's never gotten over his departure though neither has he.  They run back into each other at the scene of animal sacrifices.  

I found that I enjoyed this book much more then the first.  It's not any longer but Becca and Owen have a history which helps to explain the swiftness at which their relationship develops.  There was some great dialogue, instances of male pride, sexual chemistry and danger.  What more could a reader desire?
I do recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy paranormal romance.  It's a quick read and now is the perfect time to pick up all three so you can just go from one book to another.. 

Aug 2, 2015

Review: Dave vs. The Monsters




Monsters,” said Vince Martinelli. “There are monsters on the rig, Dave.”


Dave Hooper has a hangover from hell, a horrible ex-wife, and the fangs of the IRS deep in his side. The last thing he needs is an explosion at work. A real explosion. On his off-shore oil rig.
But this is no accident, and despite the news reports, Dave knows that terrorists aren’t to blame. He knows because he killed one of the things responsible.

When he wakes up in a hospital bed guarded by Navy SEALs, he realizes this is more than just a bad acid trip. Yeah, Dave’s had a few. This trip is way weirder.

Killing a seven-foot-tall, tattooed demon has transformed the overweight, balding safety manager into something else entirely. A foul-mouthed, beer-loving monster slayer, and humanity’s least worthy Champion.