Favorite Books of 2012: Fiction

Toward the end of 2012, I figured out I’d read something like 25 books in 2012.  I know for many that’s not much, but for me, I was pretty surprised.  The big thing for me in 2012 was the re-discovery of books on CD from my local library.  I ended up doing a lot of “reading” in the car.

I thought I’d share some of my favorites in three different categories.  I’ll start with Fiction.  I think it will make sense to break these into three posts ~ with a potential fourth for the books I’m looking forward to in 2013.

I've Got Your Number

Sophie Kinsella has consistently been a favorite of mine. I have really enjoyed the majority of her books, and one thing I like about her is her heroines are smart and her books always have a clever twist. I’ve Got Your Number was no exception.  In a rather unbelievable series of events, a young woman ends up with a cell phone that does not belong to her and manages to maintain hold of it for a few weeks.  You go along with the unlikely premise just to see how it’ll turn out.  Ms. Kinsella does not disappoint.


Starters by Lissa Price was conceived of during the Swine Flu outbreak a few years ago.  Ms. Price explored the idea of a world where the most at-risk receive immunization against a deadly outbreak.  The “healthy” are killed and the youngest and oldest of society survive.  Add the science fiction twist of the super-elderly being able to inhabit and rent the bodies of the young in order to recapture their youth for a short period of time and you have the makings of a very interesting story.  I was captured by both the idea and the execution.  Looking forward to the sequel for this one.

UltravioletUltraviolet by R. J. Anderson starts out with a young woman who awakens in an insane asylum and slowly regains her memory of how she ended up there.  She also has a very strange perspective of the world that makes you understand why she thinks she belongs there.  Not a perfect story, but I really empathized with her character and believed in her pain and confusion.

I also really enjoyed Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie, Divergent by Veronica Roth (but couldn’t get into Insurgent), Legend by Marie Lu, and Delirium by Lauren Oliver (but also couldn’t get into the sequel Pandemonium).

It may be terrible for me to say that some series I would almost rather see as a stand-alone.  I guess you can’t take a “utopian” society, turn it on it’s ear, and just leave it there.  But I think it takes some artful writing to successfully see that journey to completion.  Divergent and Delirium may end up getting there, but so far I’m not as gripped by the second books as I was by the first.

Stay tuned for my favorites in Non-Fiction, Jewelry, and the books I’m excited about so far this year.



Happy Birthday to Me

It was my birthday over the weekend, and I’ve been blessed with some really amazing family and friends.  The actual day was on Saturday and my boys treated me to breakfast and took me out to dinner.  I spent the day with extended family on Sunday, and on Monday I hung out with my girlfriends for dessert.  It was a great way to celebrate getting older.

One of the gifts I received was an amazing macro lens for my camera.  I’ve wanted a macro for a very long time, but the price had me not seriously considering it for a while.  I was very, very surprised to receive one as a gift. It’s well beyond my skill-level, so I have lots of learning to do, but I wanted to share a few pictures I’ve taken.

some of my metal stamps


tiny pink flowers

tiny bee

rain drops on grass

I am so excited about the potential to get really nice pictures of my jewelry. I love being able to take pictures of nature too. And it’s supposed to be a fantastic portrait lens.

I have some books coming from the library that I hope I’ll be able to use to learn more about using this type of lens well.  I am definitely having fun with the practice shots!


For weeks, I’ve had all these ideas swirling around in my head for different designs I want to work on and things I want to create.  Yesterday, I sat down for a few hours and did some work in the afternoon and then again after the boys went to sleep.

The results?

I was stumped.

Just about everything I touched did not work out according to plan.

I’ve had this idea for a new metal flower to compliment the daisy I created for Use the Muse III (featured in my header).  What I came up with was not at all like I envisioned and very disappointing.

I tried to work through some ideas for those fantastic custom tile beads.  Those didn’t even make it off the drawing board (so to speak) before I had vetoed them.

I played around with the disk beads too with mixed results. I have an idea, but I don’t know if it going to work into a bracelet or a necklace or get tossed aside like my other ideas.

All-in-all it was a disappointing time.  And I think a lot of it was due to my putting too much pressure on *succeeding*. I have to tell myself (and I’ve been repeating it all day) that it’s a process.  Doing something new, trying to think “outside the box”, or at least outside my box, is not going to be met with instant success.

Not having things work out the way I envisioned them is not what I’d hoped for, but it is a step in the process of getting to something that will work and that I’ll be happy with.

I haven’t given up.  In fact, I have another plan of attack (could I be using any more clichés??) for my metal flower that’s probably going to involve the dissection of some poor, defenseless tulips. I’m looking through one of my new favorite books from the library – Wire Style by Denise Peck – and getting some ideas for my other projects.

I will work through this.

What I did fall back on was a kit that I bought from Scott David Plumlee back when I took his class a few months ago. At the very least, it let me feel like I was accomplishing something creative.

Year Two

A couple months ago I started to wonder if I’d keep doing the 365-Project Blog in 2010. I really wanted to, but I wanted to do something different. About that same time I came across the book The Best Camera by Chase Jarvis and an idea started to form.

The concept of the book is the assertion that you can take compelling pictures with any camera including the one that’s always with you – your cellphone camera. Chase Jarvis went all over the world and took pictures with his iPhone camera.

This year my intention will be to exclusively use my iPhone for pictures and blogging. I’m going to focus more on artistic shots instead of the daily journal format. In fact, I won’t be saying much this year (which may be a bit tough for me, but catch me in the comments) except for probably a short caption.

The other goal is to post in as close to real time as I can. Hopefully I can avoid the weekly data dump I’ve had to follow this year.

I’m so excited and a bit nervous. I hope to stretch my photography in a different way this year. I don’t look at the abstract very well. I’m a linear thinker, so this will be both fun and challenging.

Hope you all enjoy the results!!

Day 332

I had a coupon for one of the local craft shops this weekend, so while the kids were napping, I went out to see what bargains I could find. I was really excited to find this beading book for 50% off.

There was also a trunk show going on today, and they had some fun copper pieces including this strand of copper pringles. Those will be tons of fun to incorporate into some new pieces, and they were sooo much less expensive than their sterling counterparts.

I consider it highly successful shopping venture.

Day 323

A couple of months ago, I was presented with an opportunity to attend the midnight showing for a movie I was really looking forward to. When you add in the fact that we’d be viewing the movie in a private, luxury theater (complete with recliners and seat-side service), then it certainly seemed like an opportunity I could not pass up.

I have to say that based on my viewing of the lobby at 11:30 tonight, the experience will totally live up to my expectations.

Day 292

I was sitting in traffic on the way home and was going to take a picture of the lovely fall leaves. But I got distracted with listening to Matt “reading” in the backseat, so I took a picture of him. I never did get a chance to take a picture of the trees before the traffic cleared up.