Friday, August 26, 2016

Craft Book Review: Origami Jewelry by Mayumi Jezewski

Genre: Craft/Jewelry
Translator: Marina Orry
64 p.
Published: 6/20/16
Publisher: Dover Books
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review

You can design your own jewelry with the help of this easy-to-follow guide. More than 35 lovely accessories include a bracelet of hearts, spring flower earrings, hairpins with butterfly ornaments, and other whimsical, wearable origami. 
Each of the models features clear, step-by-step instructions with full-color illustrations for folding the dainty charms. The directions also show how to embellish the jewelry with beads and other ornaments, and how to attach the items to chains and clips. The necessary materials are inexpensive and readily available at craft shops. Origami jewelry is as much fun to make as it is to wear, and you'll love creating handcrafted treasures that you can keep or share with your friends.

My thoughts:

I've seen origami paper jewelry on Etsy and I've wanted to try this for a long time. I saw this book and I thought that now might be the time to try it. It gave some good hints and tricks for making the jewelry (like where to pierce the paper and what to use). I did have some problems with the diagrams in making the origami.

I had yet to try to make a butterfly. I loved the earrings they made with the paper. I didn't have origami paper on hand so I knew there would be a difference with the outcome. Papers have weave and texture and that is why you should make things in the materials they suggest, but I decided to be a rebel (plus I didn't want to spend money on learning it... yea, I'm cheap) so I knew it wouldn't look exactly as shown. I did have some problems when it came to one step and I just couldn't see it with the simplistic diagrams they had. If you are a visual learner you might have problems here as well. Even though the diagrams are visual, they are flat and hard to understand what they meant by "pinch here". It just wasn't clear to my foggy brain. YouTube to the rescue! :)

I used this vid to "get it". This is the same butterfly as shown in the book. Only difference is that I can "get it" much better.

This is my result:
The first try is a bit backwards and looks like a funny looking man. That was me first trying to go from where I stopped in the book and began again with the video. I think I turned something around. The second try was successful! Yea, try the vid if you want to try to make one yourself. 

I give this book 3 stars. While it has valuable information on how to make the jewelry, it was hard for me to totally get each step. Not everyone will have that problem and I guess it is just how you visualize things. YouTube is handy to get you out of those problems and there is a ton of origami vids out there. I also know that on Etsy some of the jewelry like this has a protective coating on it. You are not shown that technique here so be aware that the paper jewelry you make won't be long lasting.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

On My Wishlist: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician
by Lisa Maxwell
352 p.
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: 4/25/17
Stop the Magician.Steal the book.Save the future. 
In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Tessa is a talented thief, and she's been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Tessa can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Tessa’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1901 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future. 
But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Tessa to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.
Badass ORIN!!

I totally blame Jenny from Supernatural Snark for bringing it to my attention in her WOW post. :) Totally want this one now.

What is on your wishlist this week?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Unraveled by Jennifer Estep

UNRAVELED (Elemental Assassin #15)
by Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Pocket Books
$7.99 | 400 pages
Published: August 30, 2016
ISBN: 978-1501142215
Purchase links AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionGoogle PlayiTunesKobo
What could go wrong when you’re trying to unravel a decades-old conspiracy?  
 As the current queen of the Ashland underworld, you would think that I, Gin Blanco, would know all about some secret society controlling things from behind the scenes. I might be the Spider, the city’s most fearsome assassin, but all my Ice and Stone elemental magic hasn’t done me a lick of good in learning more about “the Circle”. Despite my continued investigations, the trail’s gone as cold as the coming winter.  
So when Finnegan Lane, my foster brother, gets word of a surprising inheritance, we figure why not skip town for someplace less dangerous for a few days? That place: Bullet Pointe, a fancy hotel resort complex plus Old West theme park that Finn now owns lock, stock, and barrel. At first, all the struttin’ cowboys and sassy saloon girls are just hokey fun. But add in some shady coincidences and Circle assassins lurking all around, and vacationing becomes wilder—and deadlier—than any of us expected.  
 Good thing this assassin brought plenty of knives to the gunfight… 

Oh yes! Another addition to my addiction to this series. If you don't know I'm a fan of this series, then you really need to come by the blog more. I'll even put out some of the Pork Pit's BBQ and a side of slaw for you. If you don't know what that is, then you need to get to start reading this series. It's as good as I imagine Gin's cooking. :)

Speaking of which... this is a series that has always managed to make me hungry. Even though some of the food in this episode is less than Gin approved, most of it is, and it will make you want to dive into some food goodness. Therefore, I don't recommend reading this book (or the series really) on an empty stomach. Make a snack, get cozy, prop up the book and have an adventure with the Spider's gang. 

This book closely follows the previous book. So you do want to read Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin #14) and throw in Unwanted (Elemental Assassin #14.5) for good measure. All deal with Finn's mother and the mess she created, but this one goes forward and also deals with the mysteries of the dreaded Circle. We even get more information on Gin's childhood. I really enjoyed knowing more about our favorite assassin. Unfortunately, while we do get to see a bit more abut Gin's mother, she remains a mystery. This isn't too frustrating, but it does keep us wanting more. I think with this book, I became even more curious about her mother.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I don't want to say too much for fear of spoilage, but this is one good rootin' tootin' time (should I throw in a "Yee hah!" for good measure?). ;) This is a series I do recommend reading in order. Oh you could start at the beginning of this arc or on a story arc previous to this one, but I think these are best read one after another. You get the full feeling for the characters and the world that way. I highly recommend this series to UF fans in particular.

About Jennifer Estep:
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.
Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. Unwanted, e-novella #14.5 in the series, will be released on July 18. Unraveled, book #15, will be released on Aug. 30.
Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series. She is also the author of the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series.
For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit or follow Jennifer on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter.
There’s a tour-wide giveaway you can share! Jennifer is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, and the publisher has offered up 5 print copies of UNRAVELED AND one FULL SET of the Elemental Assassin series! Open to US and Canada residents only. Visit the tour stops to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For the rest of the tour stops, visit 
Let's Talk Promotions.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Of Sand and Storm by Amber Argyle

Series: Fairy Queens #5
Publisher: Smashwords/Indie
Published: 8/17/16
Source: Author for review
Book 5 in the Fairy Queens Series.

By law, any child born in Idara is free, even if that child is born in a slave brothel. But as Cinder grows into a beauty that surpasses even that of her mother and grandmother, she realizes that freedom is only a word. There are other words too, stronger words. Words like betrayal and prison and death. And there are words even stronger than those. Words like courage and family and love.

In the end, if Cinder is to escape the fate of her matriarchs, she'll have to fight for her freedom. Because true freedom is never free.
My thoughts:

I have enjoyed this whole series but always knew I was missing a book. This one is novella length so I know I was only missing a extra character story within this series. I was glad to finally get to read this one and it was about one of my favorite secondary character in Winter's Heir (the last in the series). She was someone who brought Elice out of her shell and also someone who you knew was strong. It was the seamstress, Cinder who had her own tale to tell.

I was not disappointed in this story. I really enjoyed seeing how Cinder took her situation and made the best out of it. Freeborn, but yet still nothing more than a slave, her captors/employers set forth a scheme to entrap her further. Her grandmother, aunt and mother were all considered slaves and either concubines or servants. All were determined that Cinder would not fall into the same lifestyle.

There is intrigue and romance and while Cinder does not do all of her saving, she does find her way and helps a rebellion and risks everything she holds dear to do what is right. She does become the cunning and hero of her own story, even though she does not do it alone. Plus we get to see the germination of an idea which leads us to the stories to come in the series.

I give this book 4 stars. I really loved how this one was put together but I would have loved it longer. Not that it needed it, but I really liked the character of Cinder and would have liked to have followed on her adventure longer. And while I did read it out of order, it did not take anything away from the story. In fact, I saw further into the arc since I read the books after. This is a good one to read in order, since it does build on the book previous and sets us up for the ones to come. I highly recommend the series to those that enjoy fantasy books with devious fae.
Banner from the author Amber Argyle

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Blogger Guest Post: Leave a Mark Auctions

Lauren whom you might know from Shooting Stars Mag has a great book to charity event going on right now. I thought that if you don't know about it, this is a good time for Lauren to let you know! It's going on now! 

Lauren, Take it away!

Hello everyone!

Thank you to Melissa for allowing me to share Leave a Mark Auctions on her website. What are these auctions you ask? Well, back in 2007/2008, I worked with another blogger in holding a set of auctions that helped benefit the charity First Book. Authors marked up or annotated one of their novels (writing notes in the margins throughout the book) and other famous names marked up one of their favorite books. These would then go up for auction on a designated blog and whoever bid the highest would donate to First Book. Once they got a confirmation email, they would send to one of us and we'd make sure they got their book (by either mailing it ourselves or having the author send it out).

Well, I thought it would be great to bring the auctions back but instead of doing them during a set time frame, I wanted the auctions to be more ongoing! They officially started in August 2016 and I'm hoping to have at least two auctions a month. All of the money raised in August and September goes to First Book, but Oct-Dec money goes to The Trevor Project. The idea is to change the charity every few months so that the auctions can benefit a variety of places! Of course, some charities might come back around in the future.

While I'm no longer working with another blogger, I am very much grateful for everyone that has spread the word about the auctions. I couldn't do this without help - from people marking up books, to people bidding, to bloggers spreading the word, and on and on. If you would like to learn more about the auctions and see what books are available to bid on now, please visit You bid in the comments, but if you have questions, feel free to reach out to me through email: lauren51990 AT aol DOT com. Each book's auction will last about one week, but some could be longer, so just pay attention to the end date/time and it will always be EST. The comments are set as such.

ALSO! I do recommend following the blog so you are aware of auctions as they go live, but also, because I will be having some fun giveaways to help raise more awareness and thank my followers as well as those who are bidding!

-Lauren Becker
Shooting Stars Mag