Mar 31, 2014

Book Review: The Burning

The Burning Man. It’s the name the media has given a brutal murderer who has beaten four young women to death before setting their bodies ablaze in secluded areas of London’s parks. And now there’s a fifth.

Maeve Kerrigan is an ambitious detective constable, keen to make her mark on the murder task force. Her male colleagues believe Maeve’s empathy makes her weak, but the more she learns about the latest victim, Rebecca Haworth, from her grieving friends and family, the more determined Maeve becomes to bring her murderer to justice. But how do you catch a killer no one has seen when so much of the evidence has gone up in smoke?

Maeve’s frenetic hunt for a killer in Jane Casey’s gripping series debut will entrance even the most jaded suspense readers.

* * * * *

This book has a good premise.   Maeve wants to both prove herself and find The Burning Man.  It was more then enough for me to grab this book to review.  Especially as it is a debut novel.

In execution however the storyline wasn't enough to really hold my attention.  Maeve might want to prove herself to her colleagues but first she has to not be so down on herself.  Frankly I found that she whined far too much and quickly became irritating.  

I did manage to finish the book because I accepted it for a review but otherwise it would have quickly hit the slush pile.  I can overlook a lot in a book if I like the main character but that just wasn't the case here.  I don't recommend THE BURNING  to my readers.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
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Mar 28, 2014

Year of Jewerly Catch Up

As promised, I have all kinds of jewelry to show off from the last three weeks.  Now mind you that these are not all I have created but the rest is for blog hops in April so you will get a chance to see them then. 

The prompt for this first one was 'Made in Copper'.  The disks and the beads were both made by CarolynsBeads.  I just love the richness of her patinas.

The next prompt was 'Vernal Equinox'.  Nothing means spring to me more then the lady bugs.  The beads in these earrings are from Golem Design Studio.

The theme for this week is 'A Gift from the Woodland Realms'.  One thing that I used to see in our woods around here was frogs.  I really miss seeing them so I decided to feature them in this necklace.  The focal and the ceramic beads are by Grubbi.  This necklace is for sale for $45.99.
Mar 25, 2014

Book Review: Notorious

New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan introduces an irrepressible heroine in her pulse-pounding new thriller Notorious, which Lisa Gardner says is, "Guaranteed to keep you up late at night."

Maxine Revere has dedicated her life to investigating murders that the police have long since given up any hope of solving. A nationally renowned investigative reporter with her own TV show and a tough-as-nails reputation, Max tackles cold cases from across the country and every walk of life. But the one unsolved murder that still haunts her is a case from her own past.

When Max was a high school senior, one of her best friends was strangled and another, Kevin O’Neal, accused of the crime. To the disgrace of her wealthy family, Max stood by her friend, until she found out he lied about his alibi. Though his guilt was never proven, their relationship crumbled from the strain of too many secrets.

Now Max is home for Kevin’s funeral—after years of drug abuse, he committed suicide. She’s finally prepared to come to terms with the loss of his friendship, but she’s not prepared for Kevin’s sister to stubbornly insist that he didn’t kill himself. Or for an elderly couple to accost her at the airport, begging her to look into another murder at Max’s old high school. Max is more interested in the cold case at her alma mater than in digging around Kevin’s troubled life, but she agrees to do both. As Max uncovers dark secrets, she finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies that hit far too close to home. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that someone will do whatever it takes to make sure the truth stays buried.

* * * * *

It's been a couple weeks since I have posted a book review.  It's not that I haven't been reading but I was working my way through some library books that I had picked up. Yeah my guilty pleasure is occasionally reading books that I don't review. 

NOTORIOUS however was the perfect book to slide me back into reviewing. The writing is taut, the pacing spot on and tension enough to keep the reader glued to the book.

Now as my readers know, I usually try to avoid first person because if it isn't done just right, then it is a train wreck.  I am happy to say that Ms. Brennan hit all the right notes.  I really like Max and enjoyed learning more about what was going on in her mind and her search for truth.  Even learning just how important her family really is to her did her need to know even if it might tear her family apart.  

I am really hoping that Ms. Brennan continues this series because I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Max and the secondary characters.  I highly recommend this book to any of my readers that enjoy thrillers.  You will not be disappointed in the least. 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
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Mar 24, 2014

Random Things

  • One of the things that I love to listen is old time radio shows.  It really amuses me to listen to the old ads that are in the shows.  One was for activated yeast which is to help people when they are too tired & rundown to eat.  One of the big selling points is that it helps a person gain weight.  Could you imagine an ad campaign today to gain weight?
  • I had so much fun on Saturday.  Once I got all my running around done, I disappeared down into my studio for several hours.  It has been so long since I have been able to do that without headaches.
  • The little guy there is the latest addition to the family, Rusty or Little Bug.  I picked him up from the pound so my husband would have company but the little bugger has decided that I need to have two Pins.  He's waiting for me to sit back down so he can have a lap.
  • Yesterday was beautiful and I managed to get the front yard into shape.  I can't manage to do the whole yard so I plan on doing it in sections.  Great way to get some sun and exercise.

  • I won the contest on  Art Bead Scene last month and the prize was a gift card to EarthButterBeads.  The beads are made in Africa and they are gorgeous.  The set above is one that I got.  This is one shop that I plan on frequenting often.
  • I finally got my husband to agree to helping me rearrange the bedroom.  It has only taken three years and I am crossing my fingers that nothing comes up next Saturday so we can get it done.
  • We are one step closer to buying our home!  I finally managed to get my credit up to a reasonable level.
  • Started a pay it forward unintentionally.  I was part of an earring swap a year ago and my partner lost one of the earrings.  I managed to find one of the beads in my orphan pile so it is heading her way.  She decided since I wasn't charging her for the bead to pay it forward and send off a focal at no charge to someone else.  I just love it when things work out so well.
  • I know I keep changing the colors of my blog around but I am trying to make it easily readable.  How do you like this incarnation?
Mar 21, 2014

Year of Jewelry Post Delayed

I am sorry but I am going to have to double on my Year of Jewelry Friday post next week.  I managed to fall down when I was out and about, and was pretty much flat on my back the last couple days.  I have the jewelry all finished but haven't been able to get any pictures.

Sorry about this.
Mar 20, 2014

Spring Has Sprung!!

English: Green Violet-ear -- Finca Lerida, Boq...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yay!  We are coming back into the warmer part of the year.  I have seen some early bird flowers blooming and I have seen Robins! I do have to admit that to me as soon as I saw robins, my spring was begun.

One of my goals for this warmer weather is to try to attract some hummingbirds to my feeder.  I love those little buggers and put out a feeder last year but it was halfway through the summer.  I am hoping to have better luck this year.

I have always wanted to work as a designer for a bead company and the one that I have been aiming for is ZNet Shows because they have great products and prices. I am sure that you can imagine my excitement when I was able to join that team.

Another thing that I really love about Znet is the glossi that they put out every quarter ( I haven't made any jewelry for one yet but I am looking forward to the chance).   Their glossi celebrating spring is now out and I wanted to share it with all my readers. 

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Mar 18, 2014

BSBP: Bead Soup Ingredients

Last Friday, my mailman left a note in my mailbox that I had a package from my partner, Beckie Robison of Spiral Fire Studios.  Good thing that he couldn't hear me because he didn't bother to knock to let me know that I had a package and I was not happy to have to wait another day.

I ran over to the post office on Saturday and picked up my package.  I didn't even bother to start back up my car until after I had torn the box open and fondled my new treasures.  I feel really spoiled because Beckie makes her own beads and the lampwork is to die for.  It has a lot of my favorite colors with the ivory, turquoise, orange and black.  And the is a combo of copper and silver and flat out gorgeous.  I am actually glad that I am required to use it because otherwise it would disappear into my hoard of treasures.

I have ideas already on what I am going to be doing with my pretties but I am making myself wait until after I finish up some pieces for some other hops that come first.

Since my partner has recieved her soup ingredients, let me show you what I sent to her.  We only need to send a focal, a special clasp and a few supporting beads but I am horrible at paring down my soups so I always send more.

This picture shows off a couple of the focals.  The button is from Marsha Neal Studios and the Heart is from FireFly Design Studio.  The silver is pewter that I have picked up in various places.  My focus was really on ceramics since my partner focuses on lampwork beads.

These glass pearls and crystals are to go with the above soup.  They are both from Znet Shows.  They are a wonderful place to stock up on semi-precious gemstones, good quality glass pearls, crystal with some of my favorite treatments and sea glass.

This last batch focuses on copper with a copper focal and beads.  The beads are onyx.  It also contains a handmade copper clasp from The Curious Bead Shop. I can hardly wait to see which part of the soup my partner decides to work with and what designs she comes up with.

These last pictures were taken using a Modahaus Photo Studio that I had won in a contest on The Beading Gem's Journal.  This was actually my first time using it but I can already tell how it is going to help to improve my photos.  Now I just need to pick up a contraption to hold my iPhone still.
Mar 16, 2014

BSBP: Meet My Partner

One of my favorite parts of the BSBP, Bead Soup Blog Party, is how carefully Lori Anderson of Pretty Things matches up  the partners.  I have been lucky enough in the past to have some truly wonderful partners and I have to say that the trend continues!

Beckie Robison of Spiral Fire Studios is super talented and very busy.  She makes her own lampwork and fused beads and somehow manages to find time to make her own jewelry and work in a gallery.

Be sure to head over to her website to check out these gorgeous pieces that she has up.

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Mar 14, 2014

Year of Jewelry Project

Today is the last day to enter the Spring Fashionista 2014 Giveaway.  Just click here to go that post.

I am back to making jewelry again now that I have my new glasses and boy am I glad to have that outlet back.  I do think that I will have relearn how to wire-wrap as I not longer have to do it by touch.  I have fallen behind on my Year of Jewelry Project but not going to stress that.

These earrings just scream BoHo to me and the weekly theme was BoHo Chic so I think that I succeeded.  The filigree is brass and the beads are Czech Cathedral beads.

Mar 13, 2014

National Potatoe Chip Day!

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am pretty lucky in the fact that I don't have to worry much about my weight as long as I stay away from my binge foods.  Unfortunately, potato chips happens to be one of those foods.  And because I haven't had the need to build up my will power in regards to food, I have learned that it is better to just not have them in the house.  I just don't trust myself not to sit down and eat the entire bag.

The one day that I am able to relax and pick up a couple bags is tomorrow because it is the National Potato Chips Day.  I justify the purchase saying that I am honoring one of my favorite snack foods but really it is because I love chips. 

My favorite flavors are the Sour Cream Cheddar and a plain wavy chip dipped in clam dip. Or an onion dip or guacamole.  And boy do I love dips so you can see where indulging definitely widens my hips. 

Do you have any foods that you love but you limit yourself to only once or twice a year?  What are your favorite chip flavors?  Do you have a particular dip that just curls your toes?
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Mar 12, 2014

Book Review: The Vampire Hunter

If you are looking for the Spring Fashionista 2014, please click here.

A vampire hunter finds himself powerless to resist a bewitching stranger's dangerous magic in Michele Hauf's latest romance.

In all his years of battling the undead, Kaz has never seen bloodlust like this. And as a Knight of the Stake, it's up to him to find out who's responsible for the mayhem sweeping the streets of Paris and put a stop to it. Kaz's task becomes infinitely more complicated when a very attractive witch wants to help.

With her quirky charm and irresistibly kissable lips, Zoë just feels right to Kaz, the way no mortal woman ever has before. But as a sworn enemy of the supernatural, can he really trust a witch? Especially one with dangerous secrets of her own?

* * * * *

My headaches really threw me behind when it comes to my review books.  I am so glad to get back on the horse so to speak.   And THE VAMPIRE HUNTER was the perfect book to get started back with.  

I found it really easy to emphasize with both of the main characters even though I found that Zoe is too naive at times to really survive. She has lofty dreams but she really needs to find some way to check that she isn't really making things worse.  Now Kaz is also a piece of work.  I have never ran across a man who is so out of touch with his feelings.  The two of them do make magic together and really compliment each the other weaknesses.

I found THE VAMPIRE HUNTER to be light reading even though it did deal with some dark subjects such as drug abuse and addiction.  The plot moves along at a good pace and the dialogue is snappy.  I do recommend it to my readers who enjoy paranormal romance.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
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Mar 5, 2014

Spring Fashionista 2014

I wait all year for this event.  What event you might ask?  Why the SPRING Fashionista Giveaway Event!  It's the best ever fashion giveaway on the internet.

The SPRING Fashionista Giveaway Event is hosted by The Chief Blonde at Still Blonde After All These Years and Katy from  Modly Chic.  All Fashion! Only FASHION event! Largest Fashion Giveaway event on the internet with $26,000+ in prizes, 100+ participating blogs and 3/4 million entries. Each individual blog has a minimum of $125 prize!

Covered Perfectly is providing Spring Fashionista Events Grand Prizes. Enter the Grand Prize here.   For every Giveaway in the Spring Fashionista Event that you Enter, you gain one entry toward the Spring Fashionista Grand Prize. 2 Grand Prize winners will receive 12 tops, 1/month over the course of a year, valued at approx. $600/winner! Isn’t that stunning? Covered Perfectly makes flattering tops (misses and plus sizes) comprised of a full collection of super-soft MicroModal tops in a variety of colors and the cute patterns.   US Shipping is FREE and they also now ship worldwide.

Monroe and Main is providing our first and 2nd place prizes. Click here to enter. (Enter the 1st and 2nd Place here:   $200 & $100 shopping spree to their site, Monroe and Main, . You will find fashion that is FIT FOR YOU with both Misses and Plus sizes. They also carry shoes, jewelry and other accessories.  These prizes are only available for residents of the US.

Now I am sure that you are curious just what I am contributing to this giveaway. My sponsor is Shaiha Designs which so in all actuality I am sponsoring myself.  This beautiful necklace has a very southwestern boho vibe to it.  And yes, the perfume bottle does open so you can fill it with your favorite scent and comes from Nepal.  It is hung from a chain wirewrapped up with Tibetian bone beads inlaid with turquoise and coral, and Hubei Turquoise.  The value of this fun necklace is $126.99.

LEGAL Stuff: 18 years of age or older to enter. US Only!(or whatever) Read Instructions carefully because rules vary from contest to contest. Make sure to provide a correct email address so we can reach you if you win. You have 48 hours to respond once contacted. Still Blonde after all these YEARS , Modly Chic, Fall Fashionista Events Giveaway or the Fall Fashionista Events Giveaway bloggers are not responsible for sponsors/bloggers that do not fulfill their prizes or for any product failure or harm caused thereby.In most cases, shipping of prizes is the responsibility of the the sponsors who will be sending prizes to you directly. Your prize should arrive within 30 days, let us know if it doesn’t and we will TRY TO HELP OUT! This Giveaway is not affiliated with, associated with or promoted by Facebook. Happy Entering!

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Seeing is Important

It has been an interesting ride these last couple weeks.  I had some designs that I had to finish for some blog hops which is the norm around here.  What wasn't normal was my almost constant headaches.  Now I admit to being a procrastinator when it comes to making appointments with the eye doc and the dentist but these headaches finally convinced me to make that appointment.

What I found out was that my prescription for my left eye was so far out of date that I wasn't even using it.  No wonder I have been getting headaches right and left.  I have a new pair being made for me but I have an extremely strong prescription so it will take a couple weeks. 

This is going to slow down my weekly Year of Jewelry Projects until I manage to get the new glasses because to tell you the truth, these headaches are just getting to be a bit much for me.  I have been spending a lot of time listening to audio books with my eyes closed so the time isn't a total waste.

The necklace above is one that I finished a few weeks ago with a pewter focal handknotted with dyed howlite stones.  I do have it for sale for $34.99.  Just drop me a line if you would like to add it to your jewelry collection.

Also tomorrow, the Spring Fashionista Giveaway will be starting so be sure to stop back by to enter.
Mar 3, 2014

Book Review: Nightmaster

In the Nightsiders miniseries, New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard delves into two very different worlds, each filled with lust and power

Rumors of war are rumbling in the vampire city of Erebus. Undercover agent Trinity Ward must pose as a blood slave to unearth the truth and keep the peace between vampires and humans. Acting now as a serf to Ares, a powerful Bloodmaster Trinity must give herself to him.

Yet one look into his striking eyes turns submission into burning desire. The fiery beauty has the same effect on Ares, but as their passion grows so do the risks. Now Trinity's betrayal could cost her the mission and the man she loves.

* * * * *

Lately I have been running into some great books that just happen to be part of a series yet they stand alone beautifully.  This always brings a smile to my face and encourages me to search out the backlist and to watch for further releases.  NIGHTMASTER happens to be one of these books.

I found both Trinity and Ares to be very interesting characters.  One feels that she has no emotions and the other was raised to believe that his race has none of the softer emotions such as love.  The world in which they exist differs from our own in that the humans have been in a war with the Opir for years and there are lies existing on both sides that these two must overcome.  

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any of my readers who enjoy hot paranormal romances.  NIGHTMASTER is sure to hold your interest in all ways.

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

Mar 1, 2014

Challenge of Music

I absolutely love it when Erin of Treasures Found has a blog hop.  This time around it centers around music and Erin asked us to think back to a time in our lives where we underwent some changes and a song that relates that to time.

The time that I went back to was 1981.  Yeah I am that old.  Any ways this was the year that I joined the Army with the young man that I was thinking that I would marry and spend the rest of my life with.  We headed off to Basic Training in the winter.  Now I was from an area where it gets cold in the winter but we didn't get snow.  I learned the meaning of snow that winter in South Carolina.  What got me through basic was a song from Journey called "Don't Stop Believin'".  Those lyrics spoke to me and convinced me that I could finish that run...that I could do those push ups.  They helped me make it through a tough time in my life.

Since this challenge is all about symbolizing a time in my life which was hellish but made me stronger, I wanted to make this necklace for myself.  And I tend to wear simpler, longer necklaces so that is what I made. The tag is from Nunn Design and the lampwork headpin is from StudioJuls.  I am actually quite happy with it as it was the first time I have tried stamping. Oh and I intentionally lined the letters up wonky because that's how I felt a lot of the time back then.  And it is longer as the chain is 28".  Just the right length to wear with some of my other favorite necklaces.

Now that you have had a chance to check out my offering for this challenge be sure to click here to see what everyone else came up with.  There is sure to be some real eye candy.