Apr 30, 2018

Ready for Spring!

The flowers are blooming!  Even my lilac bush has rejoined the living and burst into flowers the day after I had remarked to my husband that I was worried about it.  Murphy's Law I guess.

Anyways spring means that it's time to bring out some of my lightweight gauzy tunics and I wanted some new earrings to go with them.  One of them has various purples in it so this pair of earrings came to life.  It just be a coincidence that they are just the color of my lilacs.

This pair is for a floaty tunic in teals that has a beaded yoke so I wanted a simple pair of earrings to compliment the beading rather than competing with it.  And I just love asymetrical earrings. I wonder how long it will take for my OCD hubby to notice them.

So have you made any new jewelry to celebrate the season?  Or if you are looking for some new jewelry, stop by Alchemee Designs.  And remember that 25% of every purchase is donated to Old Dog Haven.
Apr 29, 2018

Shaiha's Ramblings

So are you in shock?  It has been a while but I think that I will be starting to post more regularly especially as I have managed to mangle all my excuses.  Besides, I do enjoy blogging since it is how I reach out to the world.  You know when I was younger, I had never imagined myself as a hermit though I guess that the signs where there even back then.  I have always preferred the company of animals and books over that of most humans.

I guess that I was destined to be an online nerd.  And I was one with a goal ever since I won my first laptop.  I wanted a laptop that was actually portable yet be lightweight and I wanted to be able to sync my calendar on my phone with the one on my computer.

I didn't make any ground on the first but I was determined with on the second.  I went with an android phone as common wisdom was that they worked better with a PC.  And I went to war trying out various programs to get them to sync. I finally threw up my hands in despair and tried out an iPhone as they hadn't been bitten by the bigger is better bug yet.

Imagine my delight when the iPhone synced with the outlook calendar on my computer but that only led to an addiction where I want more and more things to sync.  And I didn't want to go more Apple as they are pricey.  Until I won some money at the casino and I picked up an iPad.  Finally I could sync between my PC, my phone and my tablet!!  Not going to talk about all the steps to do so with some items.  But I was happy, or least content, with my ability to share between devices.

And then my PC started to act up.  No battery power to speak of and was really lagging.  And I was tempted, and succumbed to an older MacBook for less then I could get a new PC.  I finally put my toe into the Mac world.  And I loved it but the computer was/is incredibly slow.  So I splurged.

Finally I had managed to accomplish my first goal!  My new baby, a MacBook Air, is really light.  Only three pounds.  But it has incredible battery life too!  Finally a laptop that is truly portable.  One that I can easily sit down with it on my lap anywhere and be able to post.

Oh but guess what.  Outlook 2016 doesn't sync with the iCloud even though PC versions did.  So I am back to square one with getting my calendars to sync.

Apr 28, 2018

Book Review: The Case of the Smiley Face Killers

"This is the work of a group of Serial Killers; but they are a breed of Serial Killers we have never met before." 
From Bestselling author Steph Young; The Case of the Smiley Face Killers. Someone is taking young college men. Can be read as a Stand-alone, or as a sequel to Dead in the Water; Forever Awake. 
“There is a group in the country with 'cells' scattered in numerous cities large and small. There is a hierarchy in this group, it is very organized, and they are killing our loved ones. They usually choose males as their kill of choice and often these result in missing persons, later found in bodies of water.” 
It isn’t stopping; it appears to be escalating.... This is a puzzle. A very deadly one. Young college men are vanishing without a trace, only to be found dead; weeks or months later, in remote rivers or creeks, in areas that searched multiple times before; their bodies later discovered there, as though placed to be found. 
"Understand this; We take what we need and leave: This is necessary. Life feeds on life feeds on life feeds on death feeds on life.” 
“The evil is rampant and deep and widespread. He was tortured, taken to the river and killed. Then his body was ‘positioned’ and taken to a different part of the water.” 

This is the work of a group of Serial Killers; but they are a breed of Serial Killers we have never met before.... 

* * * * * 

I have been addicted to True Crime podcasts for a few years now.  And yes, I am a sick individual as I love falling a sleep to one of them.  Though come of think of it, its probably good that I don't remember my dreams.

THE CASE OF THE SMILEY FACE KILLERS is the first true crime book that I have read rather than just skimming through as I tend to prefer fiction.  It was time to take that first step into that world of nonfiction and this book was a good place to start.  Rather than a deep dive into any specific individual which would almost be impossible as there are far too many victims and possibly perpetuators, THE CASE OF THE SMILEY FACE KILLERS focuses on the crime instead.

I can't really say that I 'enjoyed' the book simply because of the subject matter but I did find it a rather good read.  The author introduces us to some of the many victims of this horrifying crime and some of the many experts who are working to solve these cases.  I think that it did a really good job in helping to get the victim's names out there without going so in-depth that the reader bogs down.  One thing that I would like to see included in this book is a list of sources at the end or at the very least, a suggested reading list. 

I would recommend this book to readers who are looking for an overview of this unusual case  or an introduction to this genre however I do feel that people who have researched this case before would be disappointed.  I found some of the theories that the author brought up to be interesting and bears looking into so I feel that THE CASE OF THE SMILEY FACE KILLERS has accomplished one of its goals.

***This book was given to me at no charge by the author in exchange for fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.
Apr 16, 2018

Book Review: Shallow Grave

The truth won’t stay buried forever…

It’s been four months since forensic psychologist Claire Britten last crossed paths with danger. Finally feeling she can catch her breath, together with her partner, criminal lawyer Nick Markwood, Claire has settled into a new role, volunteering with a support group for children stressed by domestic violence. But a leisurely field trip to a wildlife sanctuary turns deadly, leaving Claire to question whether the death was an accident, suicide—or something far more sinister. 

Nick gets the South Shores team on the case, hunting down anyone with a potential grudge against the sanctuary. But their investigation turns wild when other attacks come too close to home. With a hostile predator on the loose, Nick and Claire will have to race to unbury the truth before a killer wipes them from the endangered-species list for good.

* * * * * 

I was so happy when I saw that Ms. Harper had put out another book in her South Shores series!  This is a series that I have been following from the beginning because I love the characters. And there is quite the cast which is why I do recommend starting this series from the beginning.  Now that I states that, I do need to let it be known that SHALLOW GRAVE can be read as a stand alone book but you will be missing a lot of history of the characters that is brought up occasionally.  

SHALLOW GRAVE does start off slow enough that I did start wondering if this series had perhaps lost its spark but I am happy to report it isn't so.   The tension and pacing does pick up quite nicely by chapter three and by the next chapter, I was invested (reinvested) in the characters and the mystery to the point that I ended up staying up a bit late on a work night.

Overall, I would say that I enjoyed the book and it was a very good object lesson to myself to give a book more time to develop. The ending satisfied my curiosity yet I still have more questions that will hopefully be answered in the next book.  I do think that my readers who enjoy romantic suspense would like this book especially if they have been following the series.

***I received  this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 

Apr 10, 2018

Book Review: The Longest Silence

A killer stole her voice. Now she's ready to take it back. Don't miss the chilling Shades of Death series from USA TODAYbestselling author Debra Webb.

Joanna Guthrie was free. She had been for eighteen years--or so she needed everyone to believe. What really happened during the longest fourteen days of her life, when she and two other women were held captive by a dangerous serial killer, wasn't something she could talk about. Not after what they had to do to survive.

But when more women go missing in an eerily similar manner, Jo knows her prolonged silence will only seal their fates. She's finally ready to talk; she just needs someone to listen. FBI special agent Tony LeDoux can't deny he finds Jo compelling--he's just not sure he believes her story. But with the clock ticking, Jo will do anything to convince him, even if it means unearthing long-buried secrets that will land them squarely in the crosshairs of the killer...

* * * * *

This is a series that I have been following since the very first book and I do have to say that each book has only gotten better.  If you are interested in my reviews of the other books in the series, just click on the titles.

Now Ms Webb is quite the accomplished writer and if you would like to check out all of her series just click here to be taken to her website.

THE LONGEST SILENCE centers about Tony who was one of the secondary characters in the first few books but one whose story I wanted to learn more about.  His niece has been taken and it is going to take all his skill along with help from Joanna to find her.

This book has all the tension and sharp turns that you would expect from Ms. Webb.  We also are given quite the insight into the characters that make it all the easier to relate and care for them.  The pacing is taut, the dialogue on point and goal is one that we can all cheer for.

I do recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy a well written romantic suspense which is draw you into the story.  While this book is the fifth in the series,  it is well enough written to enjoy on its own though I do recommend starting from the beginning of the series.

***I received  this book for free from Net Galley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author. 

Apr 5, 2018

Swap-N- Hop

This hop brings me back to why I originally started a blog.  Back in the day there were several 'blog hops' where designers would create around a theme or in this case with beads that were sent to us by a partner.  I really want to thank   Linda Anderson for continuing on the tradition.

My partner this time around is Fay Wolfenden of Torch Fairy.  I have to say that she has been a wonderful partner especially considering that I have been having issues with my health since the beginning of the year.  I haven't been able to spend near as much time posting as I have wanted with the exception of the book reviews which I have been able to do on my iPad.

Anyways, Fay sent me all kinds of wonderful things to play with.  What caught my attention right away was the brass charm holder.  I have been wanting one for all the art charms I collected during the years that I was part of the Art Charm Swap.  And then of course there are so glorious springy lampwork beads.  Oh and the handmade silver heart.  And the dangles....

Now of course I sent her goodies and being me I couldn't make up my mind so I sent a couple different batches.  Hopefully this will make up for me not being chatty and posting a lot.  This first batch includes a porcelain focal from Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery.

The second batch is in cooler colors.  This batch includes a focal from Linda Landig and one from Fanciful Designs.   There are also supporting beads.  My end goal with these selections was to share my love of ceramic and polymer focals since Fay is a lampwork artist.

Now I knew that unless something improved I wouldn't have a lot of time upright to work on my jewelry so I wanted to challenge myself.  I know that earrings can be quick and easy for some but they always stump me.  I don't want to limit myself to such a small canvas but that was my challenge.

On the first pair, I took some of the lovely lampwork beads that Fay made and combined them with some filigree drops that I added some patina to.  They are lightweight and ones that I will be keeping for myself.  Perfect for summer.

The second pair I made by pairing up some more of Fay's beads with drops from Scorched Earth.  Those I will get added to my shop.

Now onto the main show.  I just loved the dangles that Fay sent along so I didn't want to take them apart.  Besides they will hang beautifully from the charm holder.

Making this necklace was actually more complicated then I thought it would be.  I tried several different chains and weren't happy with them so I am so glad that the hop was delayed a bit.  I ended up making my own chain using copper wire and silver beads.

And now I have a necklace that is definitely mine that I can personalize with different charms.  Thank you so much for sending along the copper hanger.

Now since this is a hop, make sure that you check out what everyone has made.  There is this wonderful list of designers that joined in but I can't figure out how to copy it.  Yeah I am gradually learning my way around this operating system.  Anyways to be able to check out everyone's designs be sure to click here.  It will take you to our hostess's page and the links for everyone.