Jan 29, 2012

Beautiful Things

Ancient bracelet, Achaemenid period, part of O...
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I really think that moving this to Sundays was one of my best decisions yet as far as regular postings in my blog.  It gives me the opportunity on Saturday nights to reflect on the past week.
  • Massages.  Need I say more?  Due to the weather and work schedules I ended up going three weeks without one.  So on Wednesday I was finally able to make it back in.  At least I can move again though it looks like it is going to take a couple weeks to get my neck working again.
  • I changed my primary care physician and I really like her.  When you are dealing with chronic illnesses it really helps to have a doctor that will actually listen to you.  
  • I was able to find a bracelet that I swear the pixies kidnapped.  One of my roomies asked if I could make some changes to her bracelet I made and also make her a matching necklace.  Easily enough done as they were both primarily chain.  I worked on the bracelet first and then set it aside to do the necklace.  The darn bracelet disappeared.  I tore my studio apart looking for it all to no avail.  Thursday it suddenly reappeared on the mat where I do most of my work.  Just one of those things that makes you go 'hmmm'.
Jan 27, 2012

Review: The Iron Duke

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power — and fear — of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.

Mina can’t afford his interest, however. Horde blood runs through her veins, and despite the nanotech enhancing her body, she barely scratches out a living in London society. Becoming Rhys’s lover would destroy both her career and her family, yet the investigation prevents her from avoiding him…and the Iron Duke’s ruthless pursuit makes him difficult to resist.

But when Mina uncovers the victim’s identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans — and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.

* * * * *

I first ran across Ms. Brook in an anthology that had one of her steampunk  novella and was rather impressed so I immediately put this book on my wish list.  When I first started reading it however I was disappointed.  The beginning was rather slow and well dragged.  It wouldn't be the first time that an author does really great novellas but are not able to translate into great novels.

However this is one of those times that I am really glad that persevered.  Once this book picked  up it really picked up.  The story became fast-paced with all kinds of twists and turns.  I really enjoyed reading about some of the inventions in this world such as the metalmen and the butterflies.  

But what really made this book was the love story between Mina and Rhys.  He was all ready to go full steam ahead and possess Mina but was willing to slow way down and help her conquer some pretty severe fears.   For a man that had no idea about the softer emotions, he really impressed me by his willingness to learn.

The ending was satisfying as far as Mina and Rhys' story arc.  However there were a lot of loose ends that weren't tied up.  I am hoping that those will be addressed in a future story.  I do feel that this is an interesting world however for the reasons that I already noted I can only rate this book a 3.

*This book is one that I purchased.

Jan 25, 2012

Book Review: Dark Sins and Desert Sands

When a mythical creature arouses the minion of a dark god, no passion can be denied, no secrets left hidden....
Escaping a hellish Syrian prison, U.S. serviceman Ray Stavrakis emerged with uncanny mind-control powers and an eerie ability to morph into a mythical Minotaur. As a half man, half bull, Ray had legendary power, but only one woman could prove his innocence.

The woman who’d driven him to the brink of insanity with her cool-eyed interrogation and her hot-blooded sensuality. But Vegas psychologist Layla Bahset had no memory of  Ray or her past. Only a feeling of being stalked by a nonhuman predator. Was it Ray…whose eyes condemned her soul even as his hands ignited her body? Or was another evil force at work? But nothing could stop Layla from remembering what she was…and what her evil creator had planned for her and her soldier lover… 

* * * * * 
Ms. Draven has created a world that very closely resembles our own except for the fact that the Gods walk among us as well as other creatures out of legends.  And it could be possible as I am positive that there are more things out there then we have discovered as of yet.  I found this world to be interesting and it does cause one of wonder if the war in the desert has been going on for long due to a God's interference. 

I found DARK SINS AND DESERT SANDS to be an interesting book with very personable characters and a good plot.  It does make for an enjoyable book to curl up with.  And most definitely not one that I regret reading.  However it was missing that unexplainable spark that is needed to lift it out of the pack of other paranormal romances.  Perhaps it was the fact that I felt that the pacing was slightly off in places.  It almost felt as though the author was trying to race through portion of the story yet in others it seemed to drag.  Because of this, I am only rating this book a 3.

**I did receive this book from NetGallery for a limited time in exchange for the review.  No money exchanged hands and all opinions are my own.

Guilty Pleasures

English: Looking down at Magens Bay from Mount...
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Here is the Seattle area we have been dealing with a lot of snow and rather cold weather for us.  This has me dreaming of the tropics.  And since I don't want to go thru the hassle of getting a passport I am thinking the US Virgin Islands would be a great place to spend a bit of time to warm up.

It is just a beautiful location and while you could just spend time of the beach, there is so much more to enjoy.  And I have to admit that while lazing on a beach sounds wonderful about this time, I tend to burn to easily so I am more apt to check out some of the culture.  I would definitely want to experience the local foods and hit up some of the artisan markets.  And let's not forget the music.  I am probably not up to dancing anymore however I wouldn't mind sitting in a bar, having a MaiTai and enjoying the music.

So has anyone been there and what did you think of it?

Jan 24, 2012

World Rare Disease Day

1 million for rare
World RARE Disease Day will be on February 29th! 1 in 10 Americans are affected by a RARE disease and more than 350 million people are affected worldwide. 75% of RARE diseases affect children and 30% of children with a RARE disease will die before their 5th birthday.

The Global Genes Project is a grassroots effort to bring more awareness to the rare disease community to secure funding for developing treatment and ultimately, a cure. Currently only 5% of rare diseases have any sort of treatment.
-Join the “1 Million for RARE” movement and like the Global Genes Project Facebook page
-Tweet @GlobalGenes. Use #1Mil4RARE
-Spread the word!
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Thank you Jolly Blogger for providing the post.
Jan 23, 2012


I promised that I would get a picture of the new cat. She doesn't really have a name yet as we are waiting to see what she responds too. In the meantime
I have been calling her KitCat. I started that both because of her size (which is tiny..maybe 4 pounds) and her coloring. Kinda reminds of the wrapping on a KitKat bar. She is a little demon cat. Even though she is older than most of the kittens I adopt as she is about 7 months old, she has NO manners. We are having to teach her the word NO and that it applies to
counters and the table. And she is running my poor male kitties ragged.
Jan 22, 2012

Beautiful Things

Well I survived the Seattle snow storm of 2012.  My only regret is that I didn't get out and take some picture to share it with everyone.  But I am a warm weather creature so I spent most of my time hibernating.  Anyways I wanted to share a picture of bright colors and happy plants.  This pic was taken at the Seattle Center last October.  I just love the hot colors in it.  Almost enough to warm a person up.  So now onto the week's beautiful things.

  • I was lucky enough to be able to take some vacation during this snow storm;.  So for the most part I got to appreciate how pretty it was without worrying about getting stuck anywhere.  My SUV handles well in the snow but it is so light that it gets stuck easily.
  • My husband had to rescue our dogs on Tuesday.  Apparently the wind blew the door open and they were all outside.  So he went out in the snow to call them.  Barefoot.  Since then a toe on each foot started turning black.  This had happened late last year also and the doctors just blew him off.  This time around we went to a different doctor and we finally got a diagnosis.  He has Raynaud's Disease which can be easy to control once we get it back under control.  He just has to keep his feet warm.
  • Our new kitten is settling in well and is definitely a daddy's girl.  Now we just have to figure out a name for her.  She came with the name of Mangle which doesn't fit.  Besides since we already have a Monster, folks will start to wonder if we run a little house of kitty horror.
Jan 21, 2012

Monthly ABS Challenge

One of my goals this month is to enter the monthly challenge at Art Bead Scene and I just finished making this bracelet for the challenge.   Every month they post a picture for inspiration.  Then you make a piece of jewelry or whatnot using art beads.  Here is the picture that I took my inspiration from.

I love the color combo of the greens and peach.  Also the trellis.  I used pearls and jasper to mimic the leaves and then used art beads from Studio Juls to bring the peach of the flowers. 

I have to admit that I am pretty happy with the bracelet if not the photo.  I am experimenting with the new light tent.
Jan 20, 2012

Hot Tea Month

Newwandphto dpi 400 3''
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This entire month is a holiday that I can really get behind, Hot Tea Month!  Of course I am personally I am pretty sure that every month is a month for hot teas.

Anyways to help celebrate this month I wanted to share some of the tea shops that are online that I frequent.  And these are in no particular order other then alphabetical.

  • American Tea Room  They carry a wide variety of teas that are always top drawer.  They do tend to be a more expensive then other vendors on some of their teas but I have found that when I want a special oolong for a treat this is where I go.
  • Butiki Teas  This is actually a vendor that I haven't ordered from as of yet however I have tried out some samples.  They carry the Kenyan Purple Teas as well as the Kenyan White Whisper which are all delicious.  I have to admit that the White Whisper is my new favorite white tea.
  • Canton Tea Co.  This is one that I don't order thru directly simply because they are in England but I do get their Mi Lan Dong Cong thru a local vendor that carries their stock.  An oolong to sit and savor and one that resteeps beautifully.
  • Life in Teacup  They are actually on holiday until January 27th but they are worth the wait.  This is one of my go to spots for excellent oolongs.
  • Norbu Tea Company This is the other vendor that I tend to get my oolongs from.  I have never been disappointed.
  • The Persimmon Tree  They are a newer addition to my list but they have the best coconut tea that I have ever had the pleasure of trying.  Also they always have free shipping no matter the size of your order which makes them really accessible.  And right now they are running a sale of 20% off all teas.
  • White August Tea Company  They have some interesting blends but what really keeps me coming back is that they have the best iced tea blends.  That only makes sense for a company based in Arizona.
Well that's it for my list.  If you try out any of these vendors let me know what you think.  Also if you have a vendor that you think that I should try be sure to let me know.
Jan 19, 2012

Book Review: A Midsummer Night's Sin

Meet the Blackthorn Brothers—three unrepentant scoundrels infamous for being mad, bad and perilous to love.

 Handsome as the devil and twice as tempting, Robin “Puck” Blackthorn lives for the pleasures of the moment. His only rule—never dally with an innocent woman. But when an encounter at a masquerade ball leaves him coveting the one woman who refuses to succumb to his charms, Puck realizes hat some rules were made to be broken…

Scandalized to discover that the masked man with whom she’d shared a dance—and a forbidden embrace—is in fact the ton’s most celebrated rake, Regina Hackett vows to keep her distance. Yet when her dear cousin vanishes, it is to Puck that Regina must turn. And as they embark on a dangerous journey through London’s darkest alleys, Regina will discover that beneath Puck’s roguish facade lies a man who will stop at
nothing to protect her—or to convince her to take a chance on an unrepentant sinner.

* * * * * 
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SIN is the second book in the A Blackhorn Brothers series and is about the second brother.  Puck is actually the youngest which makes sense in a lot of ways considering his outlook on life.  No matter the situation he sees the best in life and enjoys it.   That's an attitude that a lot of us should strive for.

One thing that I really like about Ms. Michael's romances is her heroines.  None of them seem to the 'norm' for young ladies of that time period and Regina is no exception.  She is over-educated for the time, brave, stubborn and willing to disregard society's strictures if needed.  In other words, someone that I could really relate too.  Her and Puck are just perfect together.

This is the second book of Ms. Michael's that I have had the pleasure to read and I have to say that I am sold on the author.  A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SIN has wonderfully developed characters, snappy dialogue, taut pacing and an interesting story line.  What more could a person want?

I recommend this book to any lovers of historical romance and rate it a 4.

* I did receive this book from NetGallery in exchange for the review.  No money exchanged hands and all opinions are my own.

Jan 18, 2012

Guilty Pleasures


My guilty pleasure for this week is one that I do indulge in fairly regularly.  So why is it a guilty pleasure you might ask.  Well because I do feel guilty simply because I have so many loose teas that I could and should make up and ice.  Especially since I have a lot that will be getting stale here pretty soon.  But there are some times that the convenience of sticking in a K-cup just overrides the should dos.  
So what is your guilty pleasure for the week?