Busy Bookworm Challenge Update

I figured it might be time for an update on the
Busy Bookworm Challenge that I decided to participate in. Before we get to that I'd like to mention a few things I've learned since starting:

-I'm not good at writing reviews. I can talk about a book til the cows come home! Writing those thoughts out sometimes proves harder than I imagined. I think this is in part due to the fact that I am not an annotator. I've never seen the point in taking notes while reading a book. When I'm reading, I want to read. I'm starting to see the merit in jotting downs thoughts or feelings as you read though. When I go to write a review, I often wish I could remember more concrete examples of what I'm trying to express.

-I'M NOT GOOD A WRITING REVIEWS. :) Seriously though! I typically write the review as if the person reading it has already read the book/seen the movie. I never know how much to give away of the plot. I don't really want to re-write the entire plot out for someone. I only hope that my descriptions will be enough for somebody else!

Without further ado, my updated list!

As you may have noticed from my original post, the list stopped at 13. Which means of the 4 books that have been crossed off only one is from the original list! Eek! Well at least I'm reading right? Besides, some of these books haven't been released yet or have just come out so nanny nanny! :)

1. Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
2. The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter
3. The Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter
4. Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh
5. Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh
6. Demon Forged by Meljean Brook
7. Demon Blood by Meljean Brook
8. Go Ask Alice
9. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
10. Demon From the Dark by Kresley Cole
11. Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley
12. Glass by Ellen Hopkins
13. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
14.The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
15. My Life In France by Julia Child
16. One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare

The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter

For weeks, the immortal warrior Aeron has sensed an invisible female presence. An angel--demon-assassin--has been sent to kill him. Or has she? Olivia claims she fell from the heavens, giving up immortality because she couldn't bear to harm him. But trusting--and falling for--Olivia will endanger them all. So how has this "mortal" with the huge blue eyes already unleashed Aeron's darkest passion?

Now, with an enemy hot on his trail and his faithful demon companion determined to remove Olivia from his life, Aeron is trapped between duty and consuming desire. Worse still, a new executioner has been sent to do the job Olivia wouldn't....(from Goodreads)

With each new Lords of the Underworld book I find myself feeling more and more....confused. Which ends up being a good thing! The first three books in the series had me hook, line and sinker. I really enjoyed Ashlyn and Maddox in The Darkest Night. We were introduced to each of the Lords and their basic backstory and I COULD NOT wait to read more! The Darkest Kiss is probably my favorite and I equally enjoyed The Darkest Pleasure. This is the point where the confusion started to settle in. The Darkest Whisper was the next in the series and it featured Sabin who was not one of the original six Lords first featured in The Darkest Night and I didn't feel a strong connection to his character. I enjoyed the story but actually put it down for months before finishing it. When I did eventually pick it up again, I came in right on all the action and was immediately drawn back into this world and was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happened next!

For me The Darkest Passion was the same way. Even though Aeron was one of the original six warriors we came to know, I never felt like we really got to see HIM. He was consumed by bloodlust for much the first books. Olivia who is his angel heroine is introduced in a previous book but we really only get glimpses of her presence. When The Darkest Passion starts we are just thrown right into their story and I felt like I was missing something. We don't get to see Olivia in heaven at all. We don't see her struggle with choosing to fall to be with Aeron. I felt that I'd missed out on important character building, BUT Gena Showalter has a handle on this series and she knows what she needs to do to bring the story together. I was charmed by both Aeron and Olivia. Olivia's actions sometimes seemed so out of place that I had to laugh out loud and realize I was underestimating her character (punching Legion in the face is one such thing that comes to mind). Much like with The Darkest Whisper, the climax of the story happens at the very end of the book. Hence the confusion! I had NO clue how Showalter was going to fix the mess that she had gotten us into with so little time left to do it. I was quite literally sitting up in bed going, "WHAT IS HAPPENING?!" and then BOOM! It's solved. I will say that it felt like the problems were tied up a little too nicely but I was just so happy to have a cohesive ending that I didn't mind that at all!

There were numerous other threads started in this book to set up future stories and battles. I'm still waiting on tenterhooks for Paris's story and am now also pretty excited to see what happens with Strider. All in all a great addition to the series that keeps the story moving forward.


Etsy seller - StudioCherie Part 2!

I previously mentioned my obsession with this bag for sale on Etsy from StudioCherie. Well handy dandy Google Alerts did it's job and let her know that I'd mentioned her Etsy shop on my little blog here. She commented! That comment spurred me on to a purchase because she said the fabric I loved so much was almost gone! I decided to break down and invest in some handmade goodness :)

Since most everything is made to order by hand, it took a couple weeks for my bag to arrive. I finally got it on Tuesday of last week and I am VERY pleased! My first reaction was---"It's gigantic!" Seriously!

Here it is in it's box all wrapped up!

This bag is truly a fantastic travel bag. I could easily fit a weekend's worth of clothing in it! Depending on how you packed, it would also work well for longer trips. There are no hard or stiff (bwhaha) edges so it could be molded or made to fit in smaller spaces. There are two pockets on the outside. One has a zip top and is large enough to fit extra little items like chargers or jewelry pouches.

The best part is what drew me to it. The fabric! It's vibrant and interesting and I love the straps! It's certainly a unique travel companion and I can't WAIT to use it :)

It is SO much larger in person. These pictures do NO justice!

Sorry for all the crappy camera phone pictures but it's all I've got to work with right now! There is a MUCH better picture at her Etsy shop.

Cherie has been so nice throughout the whole process and very kindly agreed to answer some questions! It's amazing what Etsy Conversations can accomplish :)

When/Why did you learn to sew?

Growing up, I sat at my mothers feet as she sewed for herself. I can still remember my favorite garments and wishing I was big enough to wear them too. I used to take the scraps and make clothes for my Barbie. In 6th grade I made a small quilt, and in 7th grade I started sewing my own clothes.

When you get the idea for a new product, can you just sew it on the first try or does it take a few go rounds?

I probably have a dozen unfinished things rolling around my studio that did not come together the first time. They sit waiting to be reworked. A lot of things come together great the first time, but then I have to remake them in such a way that someone else can do it too, simplifying and changing the order of the steps usually.

Your shop is quite prolific! Do you also sell your items anywhere besides Etsy?

I get requests to sell wholesale, but I turn them down. I just don't have time to fill orders like that. Etsy is the only place to buy my sewn items.

Are you the only one who 'works' in your shop? Do you sew each piece yourself?

I do have a gal who quilts the duffle fabrics for me now. She does a better job of it than I ever did.

Where do you source your materials? Are they mostly vintage fabrics?

There are a couple of local fabric boutiques that I frequent. I have to say they know me at JoAnn's pretty well too. I don't use vintage fabrics much. What you see in my shop are all current designers. It is overwhelming sometimes to think about the variety of fabric being produced right now.

What made you decide to start selling PDFs of your designs? Do you ever worry about other people selling your designs as their own?

I never wanted to be a manufacturer so I spent some time looking into having my designs made elsewhere. What I found was a business model that involved inventory, sales reps, trade shows, and a whole lot of paperwork and follow up that made my mind swim. I could get investment capital and hire those things out, but then I would be a boss and have a boss, neither of which appeal to me. I really just want to stay creative and license my ideas to other people. The PDF patterns make my ideas a concrete product that can be licensed. When someone buys a pattern from me, it comes with a cottage licensing agreement, so as long as they are making it themselves and mentioning me in their marketing materials, we are good. I am open to manufacturers for commercial licensing deals as well. Simplicity approached me to license my patterns for their catalog, so that is happening next. My patterns are copyrighted, so I don't worry about them being stolen.

Her shop really does run the gamut from travel bags, clutches, patterns, eyeglass cases...everything! Go on and stop by! Now....where to travel with my bag first?


Summer Movies

Just a quick little movie weekend update!

Went and saw Eclipse today! I hadn't decided if I actually wanted to go or not. I saw Twilight at the midnight showing but held off on New Moon since the Twilight theatre viewing experience was so awful. Too many crying, laughing at inappropriate times, chatty girls! I ended up Netflixing New Moon and it was just as bad as Twilight. I am a sucker though and liked it just the same.

At our AMC Theatres they have $6 (used to be $5!) showings before noon on weekends. My friend Mimi (she loves that nickname ;)) and I braced ourselves for abs and overacting! I must say that I was pleasantly surprised! Someone finally told Pattinson to take it down about 5 notches and Kristin Stewart seemed to have a little more personality this go round. Speaking of abs...one thing I don't get is how Lautner is SO ripped and all the other werewolves look kinda puny. If it was me, I'd be hitting the gym everyday trying to keep up with Abs McGee!

One thing I really enjoyed was the backstories for Jasper and Rosalie. One aspect of the books that was always my favorite was the interaction of the Cullen family and getting to find out more about them. That seemed to be missing from the first two movies but played a much larger role in Eclipse.

The scenery was amazing but that is something that has stayed consistent throughout all the movies. All in all I'm glad I went to see it on the big screen. I'm also glad I only paid $6! I think I'll stick to the same formula for Breaking Dawn. I wish they'd keep the same director. Bill Condon will be directing both parts of Breaking Dawn. He directed Dreamgirls and a couple other smaller, well received movies so it should be interesting to see what he does. Maybe when Bella is having her daughter ripped from her womb someone will break into "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going".

Pants and I also saw Toy Story 3 a couple weeks ago. He was not excited to see it at all, (he doesn't like that Pixar does sequels and wishes they would just keep making new material), but I was very happy with it! Almost all the same faces are back and the plot felt fresh. It made sense in the timeline of the story. I will say that it didn't always strike me as a movie best for small children. I'm sure a lot of the material would go over their heads but the scene at the end at the dump...whoa! I won't give too much away but they were all so resigned to their fate and it was just.....heavy. The final scenes with Andy and Bonnie had me in tears! I swear Pixar is like Tears Crack for me. They ALWAYS get me. I literally can't watch Up without crying for the first 20 minutes. I've tried. Four times. Not possible.

As far as summer movies go the only things that we are looking forward to are Inception and Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.

I seriously love this poster!

Sometimes I with there was a movie version of book club. It would be movie club and everyone would get together to watch a movie and then talk about it. I think it's a good idea! Plus you'd only be committing two hours, maybe three, of your time instead of the amount of time it takes you to read the book PLUS the two hours where you get together to talk about it. Movie Club! Who's with me!?


Win some sweet loot!

These people are even celebrating!

Everyone who reads my blog reads Becky's blog Love Everyday Life. If you don't---for shame! Get started! She is a MUCH better blogger then I am AND she'd got a year of blogging under her belt. To celebrate this momentous occasion she has assembled an impressive amount of handmade items for one of us lucky people to win! (Shouldn't we be getting her something though? ;)) Oh and if by chance you are my reader solely (delight! as Becky would say) then make sure and mention that you found out about her giveaway right here on my little blog! I will love you forever!

I'll even give you a link to get there <-----you're welcome!

I hope I win because that Brookish mug is calling my name like whoa.

Happy Friday! :)