Monday, November 20, 2017

Dual review: Ramses the Damned #1, #2 by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice

Series: Ramses the Damned #1
by Anne Rice
436 p.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: 5/6/89 (first publishing)
Source: Own

Ramses the Great has reawakened in opulent Edwardian London. Having drunk the elixir of life, he is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell hungers that can never be satisfied. He becomes the close companion of a voluptuous heiress, Julie Stratford, but his cursed past again propels him toward disaster. He is tormented by searing memories of his last reawakening, at the behest of Cleopatra, his beloved queen of Egypt. And his intense longing for her, undiminished over the centuries, will force him to commit an act that will place everyone around him in the gravest danger.

My thoughts:

I decided to reread the book I read a million years ago (or so it seems) since I knew I wouldn't remember much. I actually read this series before I read any of the vampire series. Although I did have problems with Ramses in the beginning, he did win me over in the end. I felt that although Ramses grew throughout the years,  his "affliction" of immortality sometimes made him prone to selfishness and gluttony. While these were problems and he was infuriatingly dense when it came to true love, he did finally learn after one HUGE blunder after another. Now you might think that this would make me not like the book, but the journey in his fascination in the new age as well as the secondary characters within really pulled me along in the book for a second time. It also made you hunger for the next book with a open ending. So happy that finally happened.

I give this one 4 stars. It was a fun reread and helped me remember how I saw it the first time and how things changed for me this time around. While I would have given it 5 stars before, I would say that the main reasons I removed a star is that I would have liked more emphasis on him as a counsellor he was to Pharaohs in the past rather than the bumbling researcher he was in the first book. Still, I really liked who he became in the end.

Series: Ramses the Damned #2
by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice
416 p.
Publisher: Anchor
Published: 11/21/17
Source: From publisher and NetGalley for review

Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.

My thoughts:

Finally! Finally got to find out what happened after the ending of the last book. I was afraid there would be great leaps in the time and we would have to catch up again to what is happening like it often happens when large amounts of time go between books in a series. Plus this one was supposed to continue, then not and now it has! You can be relieved to know that this book starts right after the first book ended and so flows easily after my reread.

The biggest difference I felt was the "feel" of the book. While it still felt like the same author wrote it, it also felt more mature and a much fuller experience. It could be because the author has changed in how she writes or because her son has now come aboard and co-wrote it with her. Whatever the cause, it did flow a bit better for me than the first.

The adventure was still very interesting and I really liked that the history of the elixir was finally told as well as more about the other day-walker immortals that also roamed the earth. We got glimpses of tales of day-walker immortals in the vampire books but no information. While there are still some lingering questions, it does feel like a much better explanation and a much fuller history in the book.

I also enjoyed that questions were unanswered for the immortals themselves with Cleopatra and how she was resurrected and what or who she is now. The uncertainty of her future opens up the series to more books but even if the series ended with this one, it would be enough answers we could let it end in a more satisfying way than the first book.

I give this book 4 stars and I think this is a better book than the first. I would still suggest reading them in order as a large number of characters are established in the first book.


Friday, November 10, 2017


Sorry to have disappeared on everyone like that, but as my post of my pup went up my mom went to the hospital. All precautions but will result in other medical intervention. I don't want to say more since my mom is a very private person but I have been trying to help her out more so I've been spending very little time online and I've been admittedly quite tired.

Other things happened... but they were quite minor, but it did add to the stress so I took a bit of time off. Anyone have extra energy to spare? I'll take it! (I'm sure I'm not alone in that) Hopefully I'll be back to visiting everyone's blogs soon. Just trying to find the brainage to spare. Unfortunately I'm not sure I had much in stock. lol

Will be posting a few reviews soon but things may be a bit spotty at best. Thanks for sticking around. I hope to be more interesting soon... or least try... 😜


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Holiday Post: Halloween!

Hope everyone had a good Halloween!

Thought I'd give you a quick look at how monster pup dressed. 

Pic taken by Terri at PetCo

If you can't tell, she is a Gryffindor student! I made her costume with a toddler's shirt (I really needed a larger one as she barely fit when it was time to wear it! I swear it fit when I tried it on her when I finished... one week ago!).  I did eliminate the hood as it would have been a chew toy. I also made her a collar, leash and poo bag to go with the outfit. 

A better look:
The collar and leash say "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good" and the poo bag says "Mischief Managed".
Heh... I think I was the only one who laughed at that. *sigh* LOL All are done in glitter canvas and I'll see how it all holds up over time.

The big boy didn't dress up so he was saved that humiliation but was ready to share any treats she got. I did take her to PetsMart where they were having a photograph with a big costumed pup (guy in costume) but she took one look at him and noped it out of there. I didn't force it. She needs more bravery so that is why I put her in that house... although she is cunning enough to be in Slytherin. LOL Yea, I put too much thought in it but it is all in fun. 

Hope you all had a safe and fun holiday!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Arts and Crafts: Memorial Pillow and New Sling Bag!

If you have been around the blog this year, you know I lost one of my puppers. She was a sweetheart and LOVED to wear scarves. I got her into it as she was jelly of my other dog wearing coats (dobies are notorious for hating the cold and have a thin coat). She was a malamute (translation: fur, upon fur upon fur, upon... well you get it) so a coat for her would have been cruel. I decided that perhaps she would like a scarf instead and thus was born an obsession where she hated to go a day without one. She was sad when one was taken off (or walked off depending on how dirty she got it) and was elated when a new one was tied around her neck. Since she was my cousin's dog first and my aunt knew about the obsession I created, I decided to do some memory pillows out of her scarves. One for me and one for my aunt. I made hers first and still have to find the courage to make mine. Anyway, short story long here is the pillow:
This is actually a in the hoop embroidery design from Sweet Pea. You make each section and then sew them together. The grey and the black with paw print fabrics were my base and the rest were parts of her scarves she wore. Hopefully my aunt will get it soon.

And speaking of puppy crafts...

I needed a bag to carry my essentials for puppy classes for the monster pup. I didn't want to end up carrying too much so I took a small bag pattern I had and made it smaller. :) Just enough to fit essentials and my epi pens. This is the Speedwell Sling Bag by Blue Calla Patterns.

I would say this pattern is an intermediate one but the directions are clear so if you are up to it, I say try it even if you are a beginner. My biggest problems is that I reduced it by 15% so some of the details were a bit harder, but it was still doable. The parts I added was a zipper pocket in the back compartment for my epipens. I also lined it with insul-fleece by Pellon. That way my epipens stay at a more consistent temperature. Epipens should not be out in hot weather and never leave them in a car. Hopefully that addition will keep my medical supplies safe as possible.

I also added one of my charms and an embroidered note. If you are noticing the zipper, I added 2 metal zippers and crossed them at the top so it zips up on both ends to the top. I learned a lot about zippers with this one and a previous project. I'm becoming quite knowledgeable about them. More than I wanted to know, in fact! LOL I also added snaps to the pockets to keep things separated. The  pocket was exactly the right size for the epipens and I couldn't have gone any smaller. The bag is not big as it is written either (so it would be good for those not wanting a big bag).

I also added card slots in the front section. Your cards go "sideways" to fit. That way I created 6 slots and a pocket in the back. The original pattern just had the slip pocket. The zippered section is also part of the pattern. I did reduce the grommets to 1/4" instead of 1/2" to fit the ascetics. The grommets are so you can put earphones or electronic cords through. You can still get the earphones to go through it, but you have to slip it through with the plug end. The earphone section will not fit through it but I felt that wasn't needed in my case. I did add charms for bling and the front 2 charms on my bag each represent my 2 dogs. Also, the glitter on the bag is a glitter canvas and not glitter marine vinyl. I have a domestic machine which is good on most things but I still have to watch the thickness. A good canvas backed glitter with a think vinyl coating worked well here and should also wear well.

While this bag isn't recommend for a beginner, I do think that someone who hasn't been sewing long could tackle this bag easily. It looks harder than it is and this was the first time I put together a bag where you use a seam binding. It was much easier than I thought it would be and because of the binding there was no saggy lining. 

Hope this inspires you to tackle your projects! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Audiobook Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Series: Shatter Me #2
Narrator: Kate Simses
11 hrs. 57 min.
Publisher: HarperAudio
Published: 2/5/13
Source: Library
Amazon Affiliate Link (Book)
tick tick tick tick tick
it's almost time for war. 
Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance. 
She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch. 
Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible. 
In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.
My thoughts:

I'm glad I read the prequel and it did set things up nicely for this book. So, do get to that one first if you can. And yes, this one does set up things for the dreaded love triangle. I don't like triangles, but I don't have the aversion to them as others have when immediately hearing a series or a book has them. I've actually read good triangle books but I will concede that they are few in number. And how do I feel about this one? I'm not sure. It is too early to tell, but so far I'm intrigued by how it is set up. In some ways it makes sense depending on who Juliette decides who she IS in the end. She is still a child, growing and learning so she has things to think about. Even though she gets jumbled up in her head and needs to leave that space more often, she still finds a way to figure out, in baby steps, who she wants to become as she learns more about her world. Now, that I do appreciate and that is really what drives me along in the book. The triangle for me is just another way for her to explore herself more even if you might get frustrated with her confusion from time to time. It is good to remember her formative years were quite stunted.

I admit this one took me a while to get though. It was no fault of the book, and I was always glad to get back to it, but I also didn't have a problem letting it go from time to time. Still, by the end of the book I was very curious to how Juliette would progress and how all her friends fit in it.

I give this audiobook 4 stars. The narrator, Kate Simses, does the voicing of the various characters well and it is easy to get lost in her telling of the story. I really like how they took this visual book and made it work in audio. I do think I'll continue this one on audio if I can and it does look like the library has the next two. I do recommend the audiobook format.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Series: Shatter Me #1.5
109 p.
Publisher: Harper
Published: 10/2/12
Source: Library
$2.99 at Amazon (Affiliate Link)
Perfect for the fans of Shatter Me who are desperately awaiting the release of Unravel Me, this novella-length digital original will bridge the gap between these two novels from the perspective of the villain we all love to hate, Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45. 
In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of...
Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

My thoughts:

I've been wanting to do a little catching up so I decided to get back into this series since my library is carrying the next audiobook. I had heard to also pick up the novellas as well and I was happy to see my library also carried this novella.

This is where we get to know Warner. It had been a while since I read Shatter Me so it took me a bit to remember which one Warner was but it quickly came back. In this one, I must warn you, the guy you hated in the first one becomes human. He becomes human through Juliette's diary and he falls through her emotions which triggers his empathy. This may spell trouble for those that hate love triangles, but nothing has happened yet and this is just a look into Warner and how his motives change.

I do recommend this short to go with the rest of the series since I have a feeling Warner is going to play a bigger part than we thought. I am curious to see where it goes next. I give this novella 4 stars.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

On My Wishlist: The Cruel Prince and Into the Drowning Deep

The Cruel Prince
by Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: 1/2/18
Amazon Affiliate Link: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air)
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever. 
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe. 
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. 
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences. 
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
Um... Holly Black. I do like her worldbuilding!

Into the Drowning Deep 
by Mira Grant
512 p.
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 11/14/17
Amazon Affiliate Link: Into the Drowning Deep
Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost. 
Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. 
But the secrets of the deep come with a price.
I have so many of this author's books on my want list, might as well add one more! :)

What are you wishing for this week?

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Kiss Before Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton

Series: Dru Jasper #2
290 p.
Publisher: Pyr
Published: 7/11/17
Source: From publisher for review
When sorcerers disappear off the streets of Denver, the only person to notice a pattern is Dru, proprietor of The Crystal Connection and newly-minted sorceress. Monstrous creatures are attacking and dragging off anyone with magical powers. Signs point to forbidden necromancy in the hands of someone trying to fulfill the prophecy of the apocalypse scroll. 
With the dead rising from the grave, Dru fears someone is picking up where the Harbingers left off half a century ago. Now more than ever, Dru needs half-demon Greyson and his infernal car, Hellbringer. Though Greyson is missing and presumed dead, Dru believes he’s alive—and trapped at the center of this evil.
Dru will need her friends—and her enemies—trusting in Rane’s strength, Opal’s wisdom, and her own crystal magic to infiltrate the mountainous fortress of a powerful sorcerer intent on bringing about doomsday. 
Because the moment the prophecy is fulfilled, legions of undead will rise to consume the souls of everyone on Earth…
My thoughts:

I reviewed the first one where I didn't know what to expect and found myself having some fun with it. I knew I'd probably feel the same way with this book, but things got in the way so I didn't get to this story until now. I'm so glad I did read it.

It has the same fun as the last one and I think surpasses it. I knew what to expect and the characters really grew on me this time. They all matured a bit but not too much (which is a good thing). Plus, with the awful cliffie of the last book, this one gives you all the answers and only an open ending for the next book. No real cliffies in this one! YaY! My only complaint is that Hellbringer, the car with an attitude, really didn't get a part in this one. He was there, he saved their collective behinds but it wasn't quite the same as the first. I missed that and it was my favorite part of the first book. Still, he is there and will be in the next one. So, I'm good. :)

I give this fun short book 4 stars. I recommend this series now since you get the answers you didn't get from the first book. Plus with these being very short (but not short on action) you could easily read them back to back. I do suggest reading these in order. I think those who like a fun PNR will enjoy this series.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

On My Wishlist: The Hazel Wood and The Passion of Cleopatra

Oh this one looks interesting and the worldbuilding here sounds like something I would enjoy.

The Hazel Wood
by Melissa Albert
368 p.
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Published: 1/30/18
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.” 
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Anne Rice's The Mummy was actually the first Rice book that I read (yep before her vampire books). LOVED it and was so sad that she never continued it even though she said she planned on it. Now her son is involved and I can't wait to see what happens next. I may have to do a reread it was so long ago. 

The Passion of Cleopatra
by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice
Series: Ramses the Damned #2
416 p.
Publisher: Anchor
Published: 11/21/17
Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.
So what are you wishing for this week?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Art Book Post: Everyday Watercolor by Jenna Rainey

Genre: Art Instruction
224 p.
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Published: 10/10/17
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review

A contemporary paint-every-day watercolor guide that explores foundational strokes and patterns and then builds new skills upon the foundations over the course of 30 days to create finished pieces.

This beautifully illustrated and inspiring guided watercolor-a-day book is perfect for beginning watercolor artists, artists who want to improve their watercolor skills, and visual creatives. From strokes to shapes, this book covers the basics and helps painters gain confidence in themselves along with inspiration to develop their own style over the course of 30 days. Featuring colorful contemporary art from Mon Voir design agency founder and Instagram trendsetter Jenna Rainey, this book's fresh perspective paints watercolor in a whole new light.

My thoughts:

This is probably one of the best beginning watercolor books that I have come across in a long time. I really like how it breaks down skills and puts it in easy to understand format. I would love to see an accompanying video since watercolor is a visual art. I think that it would also be helpful to grasp the concepts much easier. However, once you do the exercises one or more times it should become more clear in what skill the book is trying to impart. For those new to this art, I would suggest taking each project as it comes in the book. The skills build upon the other.

For more advanced artists, the earlier exercises might seem too simple, but it is also good to go back to the beginning and just practice. You should be able to fly through those first chapters or skip around in this case. The last projects were you put the pictures together would probably be more interesting here and I do like how her simple and bright washes keep the paintings clear and high value. Makes the art look very fresh and it seems to be a trend in the watercolor illustration market.

In conclusion, I give this art book 4 stars. I would recommend this book to someone wanting to try watercolor and some good practice for those that have been painting for a while.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Art Post: Scary Potter by Dylan Pierpont

I HAD to share these pictures Dylan Pierpont made of alternative scary covers of Harry Potter. These are so good and I think these really reflect the books so well in a very scary way.

from Dylan's Deviant Art Page

from Dylan's Deviant Art Page

from Dylan's Deviant Art Page

Those of us who are fans do not need the title to know which books these pictures belong. Wouldn't you love to read a graphic Harry Potter novel by this artist?

I thought this is perfect for the season! Check his stuff out. There is more Harry Potter stuff in his links.

Artists Infomation


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Something Strange is Going on Here...

You may have noticed that the blog is going under some cosmetic changes. I've wanted to change it for a long time now and make it more my own. I finally got a good stylus and so I don't feel like I'm drawing with my elbow. That is why I stuck to simple changes and things that were easily manipulated. Now I'm learning how to use Procreate (a great little program that only costs a few bucks at the iTunes store). I have a lot to learn, but I have had fun and decided to replace some things. I do hope you like!

Change in the blog header:
I think this will reflect better the direction it is going. I also could not put my pup somewhere in the header. The little monster would have made it but I started designing it before I had her. I also thought it would be too crowded but I may put the monster in a post header. Not sure yet.

Some of my post headers will have changed:
You've seen this one already and I have more coming. I may end up tweaking it here or there so I will share as I get to them. Some are already up on the meme page.

I also changed my button. The other picture is still active so it won't reflect the change until you use the one I've provided. Thank you for those that have used it.

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Oh and speaking of buttons. I only have a couple of people who haven't moved from photobucket and I think the rest are updated. I hope I haven't missed anyone. If I have, I apologize.

Yea, I already see things I want to change but I think I will leave it until I get more done or if it bothers me too much. Whichever comes first. LOL

Well, I do hope you like the direction the blog goes. I know not everyone will love what I will post but you never know when something may suddenly seem interesting. Here's hoping!


Monday, September 25, 2017

Arts and Crafts: Annette Bag with Accessories

First, I want to say thanks for those still sticking around while I change a few things. I really appreciate it. πŸ’

As you see I have a new header for the arts and crafts post and it may get tweaked... or not. LOL I'm still playing around with other things to change the look in the blog. Hope you like it.

Well, it has been quite a while since I've done one of these posts in what I created. I'm going to catch up one day. I have a few things I still need to photograph. I will share one I did for my mom back in May. Yea, it's been a while. 

This is the Annette Handbag (affiliate link) with a Necessary Clutch Wallet (affiliate link) a Zig Zag eyeglasses case (affiliate link), a Small Tissue holder (affiliate link, but this one is free), and a dog lip balm holder from Nana's Handmade Baby Embroidery Designs. I'll go more into the details below.

The Annette Handbag by Swoon Patterns*. The floral blue panel is made from a obi sash that I got from ebay (you can get some good bargains if you are patient). I think that was the 3rd one she chose that I didn't get outbid or go over my bargain price. I also used an alternative leather that is also eco friendly on the sides and handle of the bag. Cork from Sew Sweetness* has become a popular fabric and it was the first time I sewed on it. If you try it, use a slightly longer stitch and don't overstitch since the fabric perforates but also don't overworry it. Backstitching (which is not recommended in leather is no problem here. I also used a cotton batik for the pop of color on the inside which my mom picked out. It makes it a bit fun. I also added a bit of twill blue to cut down on the bulk in the cork in the handles and it also matched perfectly. the side pockets and side panels inside are also lined with the blue twill.

I changed a few things from the pattern. My mom isn't much of a handbag person and likes the shoulder strap length. This pattern comes with the mesurments for the handles at hand length and a way to connect a removable shoulder strap. I just added inches to the handle portion and it was an overall 28" each if I remember correctly. It was nice to sort of measure it before I made it since my mom knew she was getting this one. I also got the long john handle metal holders from Emmaline Bags. The overlay included in the Annette pattern is beautiful but would have covered the floral pattern too much. This was a happy medium. I also added a key lanyard I stitched into the lining so she could attach something that she may have to pull out of the purse easily (I usually put my keys or wallet at the end of it). The other thing I changed was the small flower at the end of the zipper. This was a zipper end that I machine embroidered from Stitch Soup and then glued on the end. 

I also added some chicago screws you can get in most craft or leather craft stores. The small detail of the handmade tag (Emmaline Bags) and the love you charm (buggalena embroidery) were the finishing touches to the bag. I was not done with her pressie, however. 

The Necessary Clutch Wallet* by Emmaline Patterns was the wallet I made to go with her bag. I had made one for her before and she loved it and wanted one to match. I had a small scrap of the silk obi left but I thought it was a bit plain. I but this butterfly out of a embroidery file and stitched it on the silk. As long as the silk is stabilized properly (I did with SF 101) and I used cutaway in my hoop. I changed the flap by squaring it out and using a magnetic snap. The inside mimics the bag and I secured the sides with smaller chicago screws. The outside of the wallet is cork.

Zig Zag Eyeglasses Pouch* by Moments Designs was the next project. This one actually opens up flat which I thought would be great if she wanted to stow it away when not in use. I embroidered another butterfly in the same file I used in the one on the wallet and in the same color. I also used the same file from Stitch Soup for the zipper end. Of course, I also added a zipper charm to top it off. The hardest part of this one is making sure the zipper is solidly on and doesn't slip. Also closing felt a bit tricky so I did use some basting glue to make sure it didn't move in the final stitching. However, if you want to try this one, don't worry about it and go for it. It actually was easier to do than I thought and it even surprised me in how quickly it came together. This is a fun one I will do again in the future.

Last but not least was the small additions I added to the overall pressie. The tissue bag was quickly whipped up with some batik material I had (from the bag and the blue is from another project). She had also asked for a balm holder (from Nana's Handmade Baby Embroidery Designs) like what I made myself so I had some better tan vinyl so I added that to the present. (The links for those products under the group photo).

*whew* I guess now you know where I disappeared! Not really since I did these in May but I can still claim it, right? 

Well, I think I now need to get busy on some holiday projects as a few personal ones. I also have to get busy in taking some pics.

Hope you enjoyed!

Bloggy note: Affiliate links are either identified directly or by a *. Not all links are affiliate links and I tried to identify all project pattern makers. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall

Series: Immortal Guardians #7
541 p.
Published: Sept. 19. 2017
Publisher: Author Published
Source: From author for review

Dana Pembroke has been able to glimpse the future of those she touches for as long as she can remember. But she never saw Aidan coming. When the tall, dark Celt with the charming grin yet world-weary eyes walks through her door, the future she sees for him is one full of violence, danger, deception... and passion. Because amidst the terrifying battles that unfold in her visions, she also sees herself in Aidan's arms and in his bed. Dana knows she should keep her distance, but the tender moments and laughter they share entice her even as she finds herself thrust into a world of vampires, immortals, and other preternatural beings.
Immortal Guardian Aidan O'Byrne has been hunting and slaying psychotic vampires for nearly three thousand years, so visions of bloody battles don't trouble him. The battles Dana foresees, however, show Aidan's brethren turning against him, so he can't help but feel alarmed. While he spends as much time as he can with Dana, struggling to decipher her dire predictions, Aidan finds himself utterly smitten. Hope rises that he has finally found a woman who can banish the darkness and loneliness that plague him. But when vampires begin targeting Dana and a powerful enemy spawns chaos, will fate grant them time to find happiness together?
My thoughts:

Oh another addition to this wonderful series. Seriously, if you haven't started this one yet you are missing out on some great action and romance. In this book we get Aiden's story. A hunky Celt who has recently joined the ranks of Seth's Immortals. We got to know a bit of him through the other stories and found his longing for a romantic companion very swoony.

Okay, now I have a problem reviewing this book. Not because I didn't like it, but because I did and I'm TRYING not to spoil anything from this book or from previous books. So what to do...

Aidan appears vulnerable in how he is trying to meet the right woman which is adorable. We see him woo Dana and her reactions to the world she gets thrust into. Oh and I should also say that Dana is a great addition to this series as well. Not a shrinking violet but someone who takes no guff and protects those that she loves. There are also quite a few humorous moments within this greeting as well.

The action does seem less harrowing than in the other books but there was still one instance where I was thrown which also led me to believe that not everyone may be safe in the end of the series. Granted they might be as well, but it shows that the author is willing to risk some of her characters and keep us on the edge of our seat.

I don't think that spoiled it too much... you have no idea how much I wanted to say!

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. It is a great series that I suggest starting from the beginning. Not only do the characters develop throughout the series but so does the mysterious story arc connecting all the books. You could get away with reading this one without the rest, but I have no doubt that you would feel as though you missed some good story telling and you would be right. Therefore, get the whole series! I highly recommend it.

Don't forget to check out the blog tour post on the blog. There is a good excerpt there! Just click HERE or on the pic below:
Check out the excerpt and the prizes!


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall

From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Dianne Duvall, comes the next heart-pounding romance in the Immortal Guardians series - BLADE OF DARKNESS! Order your copy today!

28700596Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Immortal Guardians Book #7
Releasing September 19th, 2017

Return to the “utterly addictive” (RT Book Reviews) world of New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardians.

Dana Pembroke has been able to glimpse the future of those she touches for as long as she can remember.  But she never saw Aidan coming.  When the tall, dark Celt with the charming grin yet world-weary eyes walks through her door, the future she sees for him is one full of violence, danger, deception… and passion.  Because amidst the terrifying battles that unfold in her visions, she also sees herself in Aidan’s arms and in his bed.  Dana knows she should keep her distance, but the tender moments and laughter they share entice her even as she finds herself thrust into a world of vampires, immortals, and other preternatural beings.

Immortal Guardian Aidan O’Byrne has been hunting and slaying psychotic vampires for nearly three thousand years, so visions of bloody battles don’t trouble him.  The battles Dana foresees, however, show Aidan’s brethren turning against him, so he can’t help but feel alarmed.  While he spends as much time as he can with Dana, struggling to decipher her dire predictions, Aidan finds himself utterly smitten. Hope rises that he has finally found a woman who can banish the darkness and loneliness that plague him. But when vampires begin targeting Dana and a powerful enemy spawns chaos, will fate grant them time to find happiness together?


“It really doesn’t freak you out, even a little bit, knowing I can see things from your past, present, and future? Knowing that the more time we spend together, the more I’ll see and the more I’ll know about you that you may not want me to know? Because I will see stuff you don’t want me to, Aidan. I always do. And it always ruins things.”

Leaning forward, Aidan crossed his arms and braced them on the table. “It doesn’t freak me out at all, Dana, because I’m in the same boat.”

She frowned. “What?”

Aidan took one of those pauses that made her think he questioned the wisdom of speaking. “I’m in the same boat,” he repeated. “I haven’t dated in a long time because I was born with gifts similar to yours that tend to make others uncomfortable.”

Disappointment filled her. Seriously? He was mocking her?

“You look a bit like you want to hit me over the head with the breadbasket,” he stated, brow creasing, “so—to keep you from thinking whatever it is that’s making your eyes flash with fury—I’ll tell you that I’m telepathic and can prove it if you’ll give me permission to read your thoughts.”

Hell yes, she was furious. This was Jason all over again. That asshole had pretended he had psychic abilities like hers in a lame attempt to get into her pants. He hadn’t realized she actually was psychic and would see through his bullshit.

Dana leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. “You’re telepathic?”


“Prove it.”

“I can read your thoughts?”

“You tell me,” she countered, a blatant dare. Read my thoughts, my ass, she mentally grumbled. She had thought Aidan was different, but to mock her like this by pretending he had a special gift, too? What a disappointment.

“I am different,” he insisted. “And I’m not pretending. I do have a special gift. More than one, if you’re to know the truth of it.”

She frowned. Had he just read her thoughts?

“Yes,” he said.

She narrowed her eyes. Yes, what? Yes, he had read her thoughts? Or was he just guessing the path they would naturally take?

“Yes, I read your thoughts,” he said. “And yes, I could’ve guessed the path they would take, but I didn’t.”

She stilled. Okay. That was a little spot-on.

“And to prove it,” he continued, “I’ll tell you that, although I have not been listening to your thoughts on our date, I did give them a listen both times you gave me a reading and know that you’ve had two visions about me that you failed to mention.”

Her heart began to pound. How did he know that?

“In the first one,” he said, lowering his voice, “we were naked in bed and I was touching your—”

“Holy crap,” she whispered, dropping her arms and gaping at him.

His lips twitched. “I was going to say breast, but—”

“How do you know about that?” she blurted.

“The same way I know that in the second vision, you were cupping my face in your hands—as you did earlier—and I kissed you and pulled you up against me, sliding my hand down over your lovely bottom. I read your thoughts and saw it as clearly as you did.”

Speech eluding her, Dana stared at him so long that her eyes began to burn.

“Blink,” he instructed.

She did.

“I know it’s a bit of a shock,” he murmured, eyeing her with some concern.

“A bit of a shock,” she parroted numbly.

“I know it feels… intrusive. But I didn’t read your thoughts the whole time. Most of the time I can control what I hear and don’t hear and can block others’ thoughts fairly easily.” Younger telepathic immortals weren’t so lucky. “But when the visions struck you, I saw them as clearly as you did without even trying. I think because we’re both gifted.”

She hadn’t told anyone about those visions. There was no way he could’ve known about them without reading her mind. “Holy. Crap.”

His eyebrows rose.

“Are you reading my thoughts right now?” she asked.

“Yes. They’re a little chaotic. I’m sorry I’ve shaken you up so much. I just wanted you understand why I haven’t dated in so long and hoped you’d appreciate my honesty.”

Honesty! He had read her thoughts! He had apparently been reading them all this time, saying exactly what he knew she wanted him to say and—

His brows drew together. “Now wait a minute. That’s not true. I would never use what I saw in your thoughts to manipulate you. If that had been my intent, I never would’ve told you I’m telepathic.”

“Dude,” a voice interrupted, “you told her you’re telepathic?”

Aidan swung around and shot a glare at Sheldon.

Dana guessed Sheldon was in his early twenties. Tracy looked to be thirty or thereabouts. Both eyed her and Aidan with great interest as they gathered their laptops and gear and stopped by Dana and Aidan’s table on their way to the door.

“Sheldon,” Aidan growled, definitely a warning.

“You know he’s telepathic?” Dana asked his friend.

“Yeah,” Sheldon responded simply. The woman at his side nodded. Neither seemed to view it as anything extraordinary, as if she had just asked them if they knew Aidan could play the piano.

“It doesn’t bother you?” Dana pressed.

Sheldon gave a dismissive shrug. “Nah. Aidan’s a good guy. He almost never reads my mind.”

Aidan grimaced. “Because there’s too much porn and weird shite up there.”

Tracy laughed and gave Sheldon’s shoulder a shove. “Freak.”

Sheldon grinned. “You know it.” Then he caught Dana’s eye. “I’m surprised he told you. People don’t usually react well when they find out he’s different. I’d think you’d understand that since you’re different, too.”

He knew she was a psychic? “How did you—?”

“I heard a rumor that Aidan was smitten with a psychic.” He shrugged. “When I saw you two together, I assumed you were her.”

Aidan frowned. “Where’d you hear that?”

Sheldon hesitated. “Cliff let it slip while we were playing video games. You won’t hold it against him, will you? He didn’t mean to. He was just… more distracted than usual. And Tracy is the only person I’ve told.”

Aidan shook his head. “It’s fine.”

Tracy smiled. “We’d better go before Sheldon says anything else that will embarrass you.” Taking Sheldon’s arm, she urged him toward the door. “You two have a nice evening.”

“What’d I say that embarrassed him?” Sheldon asked, puzzled.

She whispered something to him.

Sheldon snorted. “Yeah, right. Like she didn’t already know he’s smitten. It’s so obvious.”

Tracy pushed him into the hallway and closed the door after them.

In the wake of their departure, Aidan swung back around and met Dana’s gaze with obvious reluctance. “Apparently there’s something else I failed to tell you that you should probably know.”

Seriously? Something else? “What’s that?” she asked, unsure she wanted to hear it.

He sighed. “I suck at dating.”

Dana laughed. 
Tour-Wide Giveaway: 
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(for some reason the Rafflecopter form is being dodgy on Blogger so I thought the most secure way is to share the link:)

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The Immortal Guardians Series:

About the Author

Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians series and The Gifted Ones series. Reviewers have called Dianne's books "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly), "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "extraordinary" (Long and Short Reviews), and"wonderfully imaginative" (The Romance Reviews). Her books have twice been nominated for RT Reviewers' Choice Awards and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews,and/or Night Owl Reviews.

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she creates in her books.

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit You can also find Dianne online . . .

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