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Friday, December 9, 2016

Mistborn: The Final Empire

 (Mistborn #1)

Kindle Edition541 pages
Published April 1, 2010, by Tor Books (first published July 17,  2006)

GoodReads Summary:

In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with colour once more?
In Brandon Sanderson's intriguing tale of love, loss, despair, and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage - Allomancy, a magic of the metals

My Review:

First read November 26, 2012, to January 4, 2013, this is my second reading of The Final Empire.

This is my second reading of Mistborn: The Final Empire. This time I have read it more closely and more carefully. Being more aware of the world building and magic the author created, the characters he created and how well they interacted. The first time through, I was just overwhelmed by such a huge creation and the depression it all left behind.

There is a reason my daughter, an avid reader working on her Master's Degree in English Lit, is so impressed with Brandon Sanderson. His crafting of a world, a magic system, and characters is nothing short of, well, magic. It may be dark, but it is still remarkable. He has created this world that has undergone a major change and doesn't work the way it used to due to magic. There is some unknown dark force as an underlying cause, of course. He's crafted characters with depth that stay true to their personalities right from the start. The magic works the way it is explained all the way through and is explained well so that the reader understands it. Even magical characters are explained.

Sanderson has brought together a cast of characters that you shouldn't turn your back on. They are a bunch of thieves, literally. But they take in this poor girl who has been mistreated and make her one of their own. She is the Mistborn. This is the story of how Vin comes to trust them and learns how to use the magic she has been born with but was pretty much unaware of up until now. She becomes close with the Survivor of Hathsin, Kelsior, the leader of this thieving band. He is her teacher in magic, to begin with. But she learns something from each of the members of the group. She learns more than they may realize from her sharpened observation skills. Her magic may be more than they realize as well.

This girl is actually a young woman, and the band trains her to be a noblewoman. They need a spy among the nobility. She attends the nobility's balls and meets a young nobleman. He's rather rude and a bit sloppy, taking over her table with his books. He isn't particularly interested in dancing, but he sits and reads during the balls. The two become friendly and enjoy their conversations enough to start looking for each other at all of the constant balls. And, of course, when two young people come together, there is always someone willing to cause trouble over it. The young nobleman, Elend, has an ex-girlfriend who isn't happy being an ex. She has plans for him still and is going to make trouble for Vin if she stays close to Elend. A little romance in all this world building!

Romance doesn't remain the focus for long for Vin. The group has a customer who wants them to conquer their world and they need to get on with it! It seems like for each small step forward there is a large jump back in their progress towards their goal. They are building an army in secret. Then they suffer a devastating loss. They solve one problem, only to have three more arise in another area. This is a book in which even nice guys die, even heroes die in the end. Dark fantasy indeed! This is when you set down book one, Mistborn: The Final Empire, and pick up book two, The Well of Ascension, and continue reading, hoping for good news.

I purchased this book from Amazon in Kindle format. This is an honest review for which I am not being compensated in any way. All opinions are fully my own.
~ Judi E. Easley

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Look at Winter Trees Through a Frosty Window

Today, we're looking at pictures of winter trees that were done for a contest in one of my Polyvore groups, called Abstracts. So a lot of the pictures look like you're looking at the trees through a frosty window rather than directly at them. Let's see if you agree.

Seasonal Abstraction
Seasonal Abstraction
by mrscharley

Winter Trees
Winter Trees
by will-o-the-wisp

by thisisinteresting

winter wonderland
Winter Wonderland
by alodo

“Oh, but you must travel through those woods again and again......
Oh, but you must travel through those woods again and again...
by artsdesirable

by jennifer

Winter: Near and Far
Winter: Near and Far
by lvoth


But Trees Got In My Way
But Trees Got in My Way
by kathy-martenson-sanko

So, what do you think? Do you feel like you've been looking through a frosty window with these? The group is called Abstracts, but most of us have a really hard time actually doing abstractions. The gal who moderates is very understanding of our shortfalls and is very encouraging. We are getting better at it!

Okay. That's it for today. Don't miss tomorrow when I'll have a review on the first book in Brendon Sanderson's Mistborn series, also called Mistborn. This is a second reading of the books for me. It's sort of a challenge from Sarah. Sanderson is her favorite author and she really wants me to love this series as much as she does. Well, I don't. But you'll have to stop by tomorrow to find out why and what else I have to say about the series.
Judi and the Blue Cat

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dreaming of a White Christmas at Your House?

Always a well-liked look at Christmas is the "white Christmas". And I don't mean the cold, wet, fluffy stuff that falls from the sky. I mean the white trees and wreaths and other Christmas decorations that we place around our homes. More and more, the white Christmas look is becoming The look. So what does it look like?
White Christmas
It can look like this. In a home that's already decorated in white and light neutrals, the white of Christmas decorations looks very natural.

White Christmas 2
White Christmas can look elegant or it can look Scandinavian. It can also look very natural in the casual farmhouse setting. You can have everything from the actual trees and wreaths to just the little decorations in white. But to do it properly, it needs to be carried through as a total theme. Like a blanket of snow throughout your home. Touches of white decorations and ornaments here and there all through your house. In every room. That's what really makes the white Christmas theme sparkle!

Here's to dreaming!
Judi and the Blue Cat

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Merry Little Christmas Party Look!

How many Christmas parties are you going to this year? How many kinds of parties is a more important question to ask. You have house parties that are casual. And some are dressy. Some are a mix. Then you have the in-office office party. And the in-restaurant office party. There are the "expensive tickets" parties at a lovely venue. I'm sure there are other types of parties as well, but these pretty much cover anything that I've ever been to.

The outfits I'm showing you today can go to your casual parties at home and your in-office parties as well as most of the in-restaurant office parties. You have to know your people and your venue, of course.

A Merry Little Christmas Party
A blue pencil skirt and ivory cold-shoulder sweater with a colorful Christmas tree pin. Green suede heels and a dark blue handbag. Pretty colorful stone earrings. And top it all with a tartan cape for some drama.
A Merry Little Christmas Party 2
A black pencil skirt and pink blouse. Knee high pink leather boots and a black handbag. Pink and black earrings for sparkle. Top it all with a black and gray plaid shawl cardigan pinned with a pretty Christmas stocking brooch.
A Merry Little Christmas Party 3
A soft gray wrap sweater dress pinned with a sparkling blue snowflake brooch. Gray wool flats with sparkling stone decorations on the toe. Shimmery light blue handbag. Pretty light blue earrings finish the look.
A Merry Little Christmas Party 4
Leather leggings and a silk blush dress. Yes, a dress actually. It is short enough to be worn as a tunic top with these leggings. Add blush patent leather pumps and clutch with a large ribbon bow. Sparkling clear stone earrings and a charming faux cameo brooch with sparkling stones. What a fabulous look for a holiday party!
A Merry Little Christmas Party 5
A v-neck leopard print dress and ruched sleeve black blazer work well together. A small black bag with shiny chain would finish the look nicely. BUT, dark red velvet heels, a bright red poinsettia brooch, and red and black earrings add so much more to the look!
A Merry Little Christmas Party 6
This is more casual than the previous outfits, but it depends on your party venue. Is your office casual? Is this a house party and is your friend casual? Are you casual? Cause this is casual and fun! Slim fit olive green pants and an olive green cut out top. Pin it with a pretty vintage Christmas tree brooch. Slip into comfy low buckled boots and grab a berry red bag. Top this all with tasseled red earrings and a berry red oversized cardigan for coziness!
A Merry Little Christmas Party 7
Black leggings and an oversized peacock colored sweater pinned with a lovely Christmas tree brooch. Peacock colored heels and a black glittery star bag for lots of fun! Two-toned peacock stone earrings for some more sparkle, too!
A Merry Little Christmas Party 8
And finally, black leggings with a bright red asymmetric top pinned with a really lovely Christmas cameo brooch. Black and red ballet shoes and a red suede clutch with tassels add a bit of whimsy. Jingle bell earrings add a bit more fun!

So, eight looks to choose from for your medium to casual parties this season. Can you believe the season is upon us? I'm going to my first Christmas party this weekend. It's at a friend's house, but it's my husband's work mates, so it's casual, but you have to have a bit of decorum. I mean, he works with them. This isn't the venue for the revealing tops or short skirts. I don't dress that way anyway, but you have to keep that sort of thing in mind when dressing for work parties.

Each of these outfits has a Christmas brooch on it. I used them to make the outfits specifically for Christmas parties. Any outfit with a Christmas brooch is for a Christmas party. So, if you have a neutral outfit that you want to wear, just add a Christmas brooch to it and you're all set!

Untitled #3036
These are the brooches I used in the outfits above. Some vintage and some modern. They can be fun to collect over the years and use them throughout the season. Most of mine are snowmen and trees. My sister collects them as well. If you don't want them on your outfit, they also work well on coat or jacket lapels during the winter months. Adding a bit of sparkle or cheer to what can be a bleery time of the year.

Sometimes you will find that these large pins are too heavy for the sweater you want to pin it on. Be sure to pin through more than one layer. I have pinned into my bra strap to anchor a heavy pin. The strap isn't going anywhere, so it keeps the pin from pulling down on the sweater or scarf. 

So, pin one on!
Judi and the Blue Cat

Monday, December 5, 2016

You're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

You're the One That I Want

by Giovanna Fletcher (Goodreads Author)

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published May 22, 2014, by Penguin

GoodReads Summary:
Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob - the man she's about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben - best man and the best friend any two people ever had. And that's the problem. Because if it wasn't Rob waiting for her at the altar, there's a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right? Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben, and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it...

My Review:
This book left my head spinning! There was so much emotion flying around all the time, I simply didn't stand a chance at keeping a level head. I was sucked right into it all with the strength of the emotions and the pace of it. Initially, the pace is slower with the three kids being young and becoming friends. Then a parent leaves and the friends fill the gap. One boy has a girlfriend while the other two build a tighter friendship bond. Tensions build among the trio. By the time they get into university, the pace is a killer. Page after page, emotion upon emotion. And Ms. Fletcher never quite lets you go before she's dangling the beginning of another story in front of you. As this is only her second book, I'd say Giovanna Fletcher has quite a career ahead of her if she continues to turn out stories of this quality. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go buy her first book.

This eARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am not being compensated in any way. All opinions are fully my own.
~ Judi E. Easley of Blue Cat Review

Friday, December 2, 2016

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)


Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Window on Winter

Today's pieces are a peek at the winter as seen through the eyes of Polyvore artists. Is this what we have to look forward to?
Kisses from Heaven on the Wind
Kisses from Heaven on the Wind
by mrscharley
Snow Day
Snow Day
by mimi1207
Winter Day With The Animals
Winter Day with the Animals
by carla-altum

by pati777
Winter Peace
Winter Peace
by gailwind
An Angel to Light the Way
An Angel to Light the Way
by soenticing
Winter Walk
Winter Walk
by jcmp
My prayer...

My Prayer
by shellfish-suzie

Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree
by thresholdpaperart
The First Flurry of Snow.
The First Flurry of Snow
by auntiehelen
Still Is The Night
Still is the Night
by hollyjo

Well, if you don't need a cup of hot chocolate by now, I don't know what will do it for you! All this cold winter art sure did it for me! What a wide range of styles and subjects when you say winter art. But it's all fun to look at!

Here's hoping you can get warm after looking at this!
Judi and the Blue Cat

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I'm Dreaming of a Peacock Christmas! What Color is Your Christmas?

Everywhere you look this year you see lots of lovely teal and peacocks! We see peacocks for Christmas? Yes, this year seems to be the Year of the Christmas Peacock. So let's see what it takes to do it!
Peacock for Christmas
Looks to me like it takes lots of green and blue on the tree. You can also support the look throughout the room with other design elements that aren't ornaments. Things like lamps and artwork. Pillows and such. All these things add to the peacock look. It is a very luxurious look, especially if you spread it around.

Details of a Peacock Christmas
Tree toppers and ornaments. Ribbons and clip-on peacocks. Feathers and tree skirts. And more throw pillows! Even a wreath made of feathers! The peacock motif is very popular as a decor element right now anyway, so doing it for Christmas is easy. A throw tossed across the back of the sofa and some pillows add the color and motif to a room in a big way. You'll even find inexpensive (and expensive) wine glasses and dishes with this motif and the colors available in your home dec stores. Makes your holiday entertaining really fun!

After the holiday decor is taken down and packed away, you may decide you want to keep that lovely teal color around year round. It's a wonderful, rich color and is very easy to decorate with in any room of the house.

So have yourself a merry little Christmas!
Judi and the Blue Cat

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

You're Invited to My Christmas Party!

It's that time! And so I'm inviting you to my Christmas party! What will you wear? Well, I'm a fairly casual person and my party is at my home, which is casual and comfortable. Kick off your shoes, if you'd like to.

Maybe these will give you some ideas...

You're Invited to My Christmas Party!
Teals and greens with a touch of a light ruby tone are just the thing if you're not into the standard Christmas colors. Not everyone wants to look like a Christmas tree!

You're Invited to My Christmas Party! 2
Varying tones of ruby make a great festive look during the holidays!

You're Invited to My Christmas Party! 3
No, I don't think you really want to wear the standard red and green of Christmas. How about black and white geometric with olive green? With the right pieces, it really looks awesome! And with your smile in luscious red, it'll look even better!

You're Invited to My Christmas Party! 4
This is as close to elf colors as I get, but who can resist these boots? And jingle bell earrings? Come on!

You're Invited to My Christmas Party! 5
This looks like a warm and festive outfit to nibble candy cane cookies in! Maybe you can help pass around some fudge, too!

You're Invited to My Christmas Party! 6
Wow, someone's feeling really festive today! The satin skirt and lace blouse aren't enough. There're bows on the heels of the boots, too! Wow! If you show up in this, I may have to put an apron on you so that we don't spill anything on you. But you sure do look pretty!

You're Invited to My Christmas Party! 7
Deep berry red and olive green, mmmm, nice. Untraditional, but still holiday-ish. A great look with that shrug!

You're Invited to My Christmas Party! 8
Now, this is a pretty look! Patent leather shoes and a chiffon off-the-shoulder blouse with trousers. Comfy and pretty in this dark ruby.

So put me on your calendar and pick out an outfit to wear! Bring some cookies or something else yummy to share!

Holiday wishes from
Judi and the Blue Cat

Monday, November 28, 2016

Solo by Jill Mansell