Saturday, March 25, 2017

Review: Rikki's Star by Laura Jo Phillips

Rikki's Star Rikki's Star by Laura Jo Phillips
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am once again in awe of Ms. Phillips. She has this incredible ability to suck you into her stories even when you know what should be coming. Since this is book eight in the Hearts of ICARUS series and they successfully completed the mission that took place over the past three books, this one should have been either predictable or a stretch within this series. I mean, how many times can authors introduce new villains with a series before it gets tedious? But she is able to present her stories in ways that just suck you in, are unique and have real emotion and characters. It's incredible.

Rikki is the youngest daughter of Hope Bearen. She was from a triplet set born as shifters in the original Soul-Linked Saga series, which was unheard of in their world. So going in, we know that this three book set (each sister will have one) is going to be a bit different. The last three books sort of wrapped up the Chaos being a big influence on the Galaxy story line, but what is left is all of the damage that has been done. And in many ways is still being done, by the by-products of past villains.

I absolutely love the way this one is written! You start with a little prologue and then it jumps to the 'present' with is six or seven months later. Rikki is returning home after being out touch with her family in a while with her four month old daughter in tow, only her parents saw her seven months ago and she was NOT pregnant then. She's weak, frail, exhausted and she and her daughter are both terrified. Not only that, but four-month-old Charley is EXTREMELY intelligent for her age. What could possibly have happened? Her family and her Rami (male set [mates]) have to wrap their minds around the devastation that has changed Rikki's life and help her and Charley learn to be happy and feel safe. Oh, and also stop the crazy 'people' that are pursuing her!

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Crafting My Own Fan Pull

I've recently installed a new ceiling fan in my living room.  Along with that I wanted new, decorative fan pulls since that ones that come with fans are really boring.  I knew that I wanted something to match the gold/yellow accent color of my room and I really like and wanted glass or prism style.  Finding something to my specifications was MUCH more difficult than I was anticipating!  When you're that picky about style, color and shape I guess I should have known better though.

After much research in my online shopping endeavors I came to the conclusion that with my experience making jewelry for myself, I should be able to make the fan pull I was envisioning.

I had in my Christmas decorations these amber colored, plastic prisms.  With the massive amounts of beads I own and all my jewelry making tools (shown on the left), I had all I needed to complete this.

I picked through all my yellow, gold and cream beading and my sturdy gold wire.  This wire is the thickest one I own and should hold up fine.  I took the chain from the fan pull that came with the fan and cut it in half.  If you look closely you can see the half length chain in the middle of the picture.  I strung my wire through the prism and secured it with a nice wrap around twist.  Then strung my chosen beads on the chain and finished it with a loop and the same wrap around twist to secure that end. 

With a second piece of wire I created a loop on the end of the chain pull that didn't have the connector piece on it and twisted my gold wire around the ball and spacers of the chain pull.  It gave a nice decorative gold look to the oil-brushed bronze color of the pull as well as being secure enough to pull on it as needed. There's my finished product.  I did make a second one with the other half of the chain for the light pull as well.  It matches the room the way I wanted and also is a nice decorative light catcher.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

March Re-Readathon

I have had some trouble recently finding books that I want to read.  Don't get me wrong, my bed-side table reading stack is HUGE but I just don't feel like picking any of them up.  So I've been doing nothing to help reduce my book stack, but instead raiding my favorite books that I read years ago.  Here's my most recent re-read suggestions.  Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry series.

Image result for merry gentry bookcovers  laurell k hamilton
Now if you are familiar with Laurell K. Hamilton and possible started with her Anita Blake series, there's a chance you might be upset with her because in that series she started Anita Blake (the first five or six books) writing a really cool science fiction, paranormal series.  Then she had a mid-life crisis/divorce and went crazy with this series and they all became big erotica sex piles.

Merry Gentry is different, because this series begins and ends with the sex as the main theme.  You know it shortly into the first novel, Kiss of Shadows, and it keeps up, adding new people as each book and novels progresses.  The world is fun because it's a Earth where magical, powerful people are a fact of life.  The Tuatha De Dannan are real and have existed since long before they were known as Gods and Goddesses from mythology.  They were driven out of Europe and their 'fairy mounds' have been in Kansas ever since the U.S. gave them sanctuary. 

Merry is the first mortal Princess of this realm who has been hiding from her treacherous family for years.  She is discovered and brought back to her people with the understanding that her Aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness is barren and she needs either her niece or son to produce the next heir to the realm.  Promising the throne to the first who can do this.  Merry agrees to attempt to get pregnant with the men of the Queen's Guard and embark on life and death situations that ultimately end up bringing the dying magic of the Fae back. 

Turns out, their magic has been dying for years, most everyone in both Light and Dark Fae kingdoms have been dying out and Merry is the key to bringing power back to their people.  She'll only have to survive her crazy Aunt, psychotic cousin, disillusion Uncle, who is also the King of Light and Illusion of the Light Fae and learn to handle the new magic she is awakening.  

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Refurbishing Old Fixtures

 I decided that I was going to spend this Winter giving all of the brass fixtures in my house a makeover.  It's a nice indoor task that is not difficult.  The hardest part is the length of time needed to raise your arms over your head!

What you need:
  1. fine sand paper
  2. spray paint of your choice
  3. well ventilated work-space
  4. time
Now, the first thing to do when you've determined what light you want to remove to refinish is TURN OFF THE ELECTRICITY FOR THAT LIGHT!!  This is a critical first step.  It can be done first by making sure the light switch is off and second by turning off the power at the breaker box.  Usually the next steps will be removing the glass fixture and light bulbs.  Some lights are bulbs first, then glass pieces, others are glass covers, then light bulbs.  Unscrew your attachment screws and usually there will be three connector wires to disconnect.  They should be white to white, black to black and ground wire to ground wire.  Ground wire are usually just exposed  copper wires and can sometimes be twisted around a screw on the fixture or mount bar.  Remember your wires for when it comes time to reinstall! (If you have a ceiling fan there can be an extra [fourth] wire set.  This is typically teal or blue.  This is for ceiling fans with a separate switch for the fan function.)

Clean the entire fixture and let dry.  I've done this with cleaner and wipes or by putting it in the sink to wash (Obviously, not the electrical wire parts in the sink).  After it's dust and particle free, lightly sand the surfaces you want to paint.  A light scratch is all you're looking for.  This will allow the new paint to adhere to the surface better and not be scratched off as easily.  Move to a well-ventilated area and use your spray paint to entirely cover the necessary areas.  This usually takes more than one coat of paint and more than once having to shift your light around so that you can reach all areas of the fixture.  Be patient!  Don't forget to include the screws and decorative screw covers.

 Once you're sure you have all your pieces done, in all the little nooks and crannies, you can do an optional coat of clear-coat/sealant.  Here are two finished products.  One in an oil brushed bronze and one in a matte silver.  Reinstall your light starting with the wires.  I like to attach my wires and lightly screw back my screws just enough so that the fixture will be held in place, then turn on the power and check my wiring.  If everything turns back on all right, I finish securing the fixture completely and reassemble the glass and bulbs.  Done!