Monday, February 20, 2017

Read - The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium, Book Two)

The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium, Book Two)
by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
264 pages

'Callum Hunt's summer break isn't like other kids'.  His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc.  His father suspects him of being secretly evil.  And, of course, most kids aren't heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.

It's not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium -- but things only intensify there.  The Alkahest -- a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic -- has been stolen.  And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes -- and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.'


I really enjoyed the first book in this Magisterium series so I happily jumped right into this second book.  I was a bit disappointed by this one though.  These are middle grade books and I like that they are on the shorter side (both under 300 pages) but maybe this one would have been better if it had been longer.  Maybe it would have had more of a story to it.  This one seemed sort of lacking, more like setting up bigger things to come than being an important chunk of the series in its own right.  The couple big events that this book featured sort of fizzled out.  In fact, I'm still rather unclear on what was really going on with the main point of this book.

After discovering a huge secret about himself back in Book One, Call has been struggling with that information.  He's pretty sure his father knows the secret too.  And when Call stumbles across something in the basement that strongly indicates his father is going to take care of the problem, Call and his wolf flee for their lives.  He makes it back to the Magisterium for his second year of magic school, although he and his friends are already trying to figure out a huge mystery.

Someone has attempted to steal a priceless and powerful artifact of the magic world, and Call is pretty sure he knows who . . . and why.

Call and his friends set off on another adventure, this time inadvertently dragging another student into it.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Call is eventually forced into revealing his secret to his traveling companions.  How will they react?  Is his secret going to remain safe?  Is HE going to remain safe?  At the moment (in this book) they don't really have time to process the information or react honestly.  They're in a battle to survive.  Once they get out of their situation and back to school, it's still uncertain just how his friends now feel about things.  One in particular seems to be struggling with the news.  How will this play out going forward?  It will be interesting to see.

So while this book was a bit of a disappointment on its own, it has set up story lines for what's to come, and I'm still looking forward to seeing where it all goes.

Have you read this Magisterium series?
What did you think of this second book?

Melted - Lasting Scent Candles / Sugar Sparkle

Sugar Sparkle - [no scent description]

I seem to remember reading somewhere that this is a lemon-caramel blend.  I'm all about lemon scents!  I also love caramel scents IF they are sweet and creamy, not salted.  This one is nice.  The lemon seems stronger on cold sniff.  Once melted, it was a little more bakery.  Still a nice lemon scent, with that creamy caramel cozying up to it wonderfully.

I melted this 1.4 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had medium-strong scent.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Melted - Satin Suzie / Black Cherry Spice

Black Cherry Spice - 'Fresh, ripe black cherries blended with kitchen spices.'

I liked this one.  It's like Kool Aid with some oompf!  Or like my beloved Cranberry Spice's slightly sweeter cousin.  This is a dark, fruity scent, quite sweet and playful but with just enough spice to keep it from being candy-like.  I said in my cold sniff haul post notes that this could work as a fall scent but just as easily work as an everyday scent.  Sometimes cherry and almond scents can be similar.  This one is not almond-y.  I would gladly get this again.

I melted this 1.6 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had strong, long lasting scent.

Watched - The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

'Filmmaker Andrew Jarecki examines the complicated life of reclusive real estate icon, Robert Durst, the key suspect in a series of unsolved crimes.'

I am a true-crime fan.  I'm probably addicted to it.  I could watch Snapped and ID channel all freakin' day, and some people find that a little creepy.  LOL

I remember seeing commercials for this HBO docu-series called The Jinx when it was first coming out, and I remember being intrigued.  I never ended up watching it though because I just didn't get what it was supposed to be.  Real?  Drama?  How could they do a documentary if these crimes were still being investigated?  Is this the real guy or an actor?  There were just so many things that seemed weird and confusing to me that in the end I just dismissed it all and carried on with life.

Then my bloggy friend Kevin gifted me a DVD set of the series.  He insisted I needed to watch it, that I would not be disappointed.  I was like 'Ugh, but I tried and I don't understand . . . ' and I put off watching it for a while.  Until now.  I put the first disc in the other day out of boredom (and guilt) and to my surprise, was very quickly hooked.  I marathon watched the first five episodes Friday afternoon/evening, worked Saturday and didn't get to watch any, but popped that final episode in early Sunday morning just to see how it all ended.  I then hopped online to see what news there has been since this 2015 series aired.

I suppose I should back up and tell you a bit about what he's accused of and what the show is about.  Robert Durst is a member of the rich and powerful Durst family, real estate tycoons in New York City.  In 1982 his wife Kathie went missing.  The case has never been solved.  She's never been found, dead or alive.  No one has ever been charged for anything.  But it's always been believed that Robert killed her.  He had a falling out with his rich family and left the business in the mid '90s.  In 2000 a very close friend of his was murdered in California.  In 2001 a man in Texas was murdered, and Robert was charged with *that* crime.  In 2010 the movie All Good Things came out, which is a 'loosely veiled' telling of the missing wife story.  Robert saw the movie, contacted the director, and wanted to be interviewed so he could tell his side of the story.  That interview turned into the six episode series, The Jinx.

From what I got out of the series is that the theory is Robert killed his wife and got away with it for many years.  Later something happened (can't remember just what) that was going to reopen the case so Robert quietly slipped away.  He was on the run but people didn't really realize it because he was eccentric and already falling out with his family.  Theory is that his very close friend in California had fallen on hard times and was needing money, and perhaps had hinted to Robert that he help her out or she'd go to authorities about where he was and possibly what he'd done.  So he killed her.  He was then living incognito in Texas and, theory has it, his neighbor/friend found out who he was and was possibly going to notify authorities so, yes, he was killed.  Once he was arrested for that murder, all the other things started being looked at again and dots were being connected.

There is a lot of, um, quirkiness about this guy.  The whole messy story often seems like a badly written Hollywood movie, yet it's *real.*  He has tons of money so he has top lawyers and they saved him from the murder charge.  The jury decided it was an accidental death, so he was acquitted.  There is mystery in the Durst family too.  Do they know something about the missing wife?  Did they help cover something up?  There are just so many 'What the......' moments!  You can't help but wonder how this guy was never caught.  I don't know how to describe it really.  Robert comes across as both a crazy man and a very sneaky genius.  He's one who speaks in technicalities.  Whether he picked that up from his effective legal team or was always like that, I'm not sure.  He's the kind of guy who's going to get around things that same way, on technicalities.

I actually felt a bit sorry for Robert Durst for a while.  His family didn't really take part in the series.  I think a nephew was interviewed . . . ?  Robert's brother though, refused, although they did find ways to work him into the story.  The family seems rather dickish, all the rich folks rallying together against the black sheep to save the family name.  The brother had hired bodyguards and had a restraining order against Robert.  There was a part in one of the episodes where Robert wanted to be filmed outside his brother's house.  I chuckled a bit at that because it was like Robert sort of taunting in a seemingly harmless way.

It seems so obvious that Robert killed these three people.  Sometimes I think that okay maybe *he* didn't actually kill them but he had them killed.  Then I think no, he did it himself.  I mean, he didn't deny killing the Texas man.  He has flat out denied killing the other two though.  He was not very good about hiding anything in the Texas murder, yet why can't anything be found in the missing wife case?  Even the California murder has some very obvious clues.  It's all such an intriguing mess!

In episode five of the series, some interesting new evidence was discovered.  At the start of the sixth episode, I made a comment to hubby that "I wonder if he's [director Jarecki] worried his life is next?" when Jarecki and his crew were talking about what to do next.  The new evidence was a game changer, for sure.  When I was reading online after watching the show, sure enough, they had hired security because they no longer felt safe.  They are continuing to follow the Robert Durst story and I hope they do another show about what has happened since this original series.  There have been various arrests and events in the couple years since they put their series together, including Robert finally being charged with the California woman's murder.  He's an old man though, and apparently not in good health, so will anything be accomplished before he dies?  Or will his high priced legal team keep things drawn out long enough to where we'll never know what really happened?

I'm glad I finally gave in and watched this.  Thank you again, Kevin, for sending it to me!

Have you followed the Robert Durst story, or seen The Jinx?  What are your thoughts on it all?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Melted - Lasting Scent Candles / Strawberry Crunch Muffins

Strawberry Crunch Muffins - '(LSC Original Mix) Warm Strawberry Muffins with a Buttery Pecan and Brown Sugar Streusel topping.'

I didn't care much for this scent.  The strawberry reminds me of the popular 'fresh picked strawberries' scent that was all the rage a year or so ago, one that I never got into.  I think the buttery pecan notes leaned a little too close to zucchini for my liking, with a certain saltiness that I've really struggled with the past six months or so.  I didn't hate the scent enough to turn the warmer off, but I didn't really enjoy it either.  Luckily, Lasting Scents doesn't seem to have much staying power for me or I would have shut that warmer off.  lol

I melted this 1.2 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had very strong scent for about the first hour, then it faded to a more medium type, and was gone by the four hour mark.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Melted - Satin Suzie / Agent 66

Agent 66 - 'Ripe pears & spicy-sweet dessert figs with brown sugar.  (House blend)"

This one is very similar to Golden Pear & Brown Sugar, from Bath & Body Works.  The BBW one is a little warmer though.  This Agent 66 scent is a little fruitier but still has warmth and a bit of coziness from the brown sugar.  It's still a lighter (as in airy) scent though, not a thick and heavy dessert type.  I did like this but I think this is one of those scents where I love it in body products but not nearly as much in home fragrance.

I melted this 1.5 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had strong scent.  And again, I continue to be impressed with these Satin Suzie tarts.  This is another that lasted all darn day, and even lingered throughout the house well after the warmer was off and the wax had cooled.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Natters - Feb. 16

Day off today and I had no real plans, so that was good.  Thought maybe I'd go get my hair cut but in the end just stayed home being lazy.  Work did call at about 5:30am to see if I'd come in.  Of course, I ignored that message.  I don't know if it was because of the immigrants protest day thing happening or what.  *shrugs*

I tried watching The Hollow Crown: Richard II today.  I'd gotten that and disc one of The Hollow Crown: Henry IV from Netflix.  I quickly gave up when I saw it was Shakespeare.  I mean, yeah, I knew it was an adaptation but I was hoping it would have been acted out in non-Shakespeare dialogue.  Nope.  Oh well, gave up within minutes and will send them right back.

Got my Rosegirls order today, which I've already posted about.

The weather was quite nice here in Wisconsin today.  It got up to the mid30s and there was a decent amount of sunshine.  It's been warm and lovely lately, and supposed to get much warmer for the next several days.  We're supposed to hit 50 tomorrow and possibly mid50s this weekend!  Of course we all know winter is not truly over yet.  We'll drop back down in temperatures again and probably get blasted with at least one more snow storm this season.

So here's a news flash!  I got frustrated in the craft room again today.
I went in there with no real plans or expectations, figured I'd just play around with different techniques or whatever came to mind.  And then I just sat there and blanked out.  Again.  It's like, GEEZ, just do something!  But I think it's a fear of wasting supplies that keeps me from just playing around.  So I sorted some things, trying to do some better organizing, and pulled out the few Easter stamps and papers I have on hand.  In the process I found I have a double of one of my sentiment sets, and that made me even more crabby.  I must have ordered them close together and not marked them off my list in between.  *grrr*  I think I might be able to send one back and exchange it for something else.  I'll have to check into it more.

I did make one card though!
Probably should have waited till tomorrow to get a pic in daylight but oh well.  It looks rather plain but I did actually practice some techniques with this one.  Like the bunnies, sentiment, and egg are all heat embossed, and the lower part that looks woven is from an embossing folder.  I thought the woven look would be cute for and Easter basket type look.
There is also a faint bit of shimmer on the bunnies and egg.
The bling on each side was a complete after thought, just to see how they'd look.  I'm not sure how I feel about them.  You can't really tell in the pics but the upper section is many spring/Easter colored dots.

That's about it for today.  Tomorrow I'll go grocery shopping and since Valentine's is over now, the Easter stuff should be out at Walmart.  Maybe I'll find some fun goodies!

How was your day?