Monday, May 10, 2010

Review: Paper, Scissors, Death by Joanna Campbell Slan


First line: Two days before Thanksgiving, a man doesn't think about dying.

From the back cover: Mousy housewife Kiki Lowenstein has two great loves: scrapbooking and her young daughter, Anya. But her happy family album is ruined when her husband, George, is found naked and dead in a hotel room. As Kiki tracks down George's murderer, she discovers his sordid secret life.

Cruel taunts by George's former flame compel Kiki to spout an unwise threat. When the woman is murdered, Kiki's scissor-sharp words make her the prime suspect. She could be creating scrapbook keepsakes for the rest of her life - behind bars. Supported by her loyal friends, along with a little help (and a lot of stomach flutters) from the dashing Detective Detweiler, can Kiki cut the true killer out of the picture and design a new life for herself and Anya?

My thoughts: This is the first Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery. I hadn't heard of this series until the author contacted me wanting to know if I would read her newest book, Photo, Snap, Shot - the third in the series. Well, if you know anything about my reading habits, you would know that I cannot possibly start a series in the middle - I need to read them in order. So, I headed to the library and got the first two in the series. Well, I was glad I did - I thoroughly enjoyed this first book (as well as the other two - reviews of each to come!).

I enjoyed the beginning of this series and am glad to have been told about it. The book is a fun, easy read. I love that the Kiki is a scrapbooker - I love scrapbooking - and I enjoyed all the scrapbook tips found at the end of some of the chapters. The book itself was a very well written mystery, and the characters were all delightful - Kiki, her daughter Anya, Dodie, Mert and of course, the Great Dane, Gracie. The plot had twists and turns you never see coming and the last sentence in the book will keep you coming back for more. I am looking forward to reading more of this series.

Here is my favorite tip from Paper, Scissors, Death:

Kiki's Method for Putting Together an Album Quickly

Most people work one page at a time. If you want to get an album done quickly, there's a better way.
  1. Start with a palate of papers and matching ribbon or fiber.
  2. Choose a lettering system, such as rubber stamps, rub-on lettering, vellum preprinted phrases, sticker letters, computer type, or die-cut letters.
  3. Create backgrounds for all your pages at once. Decide on a central design theme to carry through the album. For example, will you always run a strip of patterned paper vertically along the outside of the pages? Or will you divide the pages into quadrants and use different paper in each? Or will you put a broad strip of patterned paper across the midpoint of every page? Aim for consistency. You do not want to come up with a new look for every page.
  4. Adhere your photos with a temporary adhesive. (This allows you to "play" with placement.)
  5. Look at the negative space, the empty space around the photos. This space will determine the sizes and shapes of your embellishments. Note the average negative space size.
  6. Create embellishments to fill those empty spaces, remembering to leave room for journaling. For example, if you have a twenty-four-page album, and thirteen spaces that are 4"x6", you can safely make thirteen 3"x5" tags or journaling boxes. Mass produce your embellishments, remembering to duplicate several designs. In fact, you might wish to select a certain embellishment style and carry it through the entire album. For example, you might create a 3"x5" tag with a silk flower and simply vary the journaling.
  7. Be sure to leave space for journaling. These are SOFJ, Sites of Future Journaling.
  8. Assemble the album.
Copyright 2010, Joanna Campbell Slan. Cannot be reprinted without permission from Midnight Ink, the publisher.
    I love this tip, as I tend to be a slow-poke when it comes to scrapbooking. It sometimes takes me a while to figure out how to layout one page, so you can imagine how long it would take for me to put together a whole book. Now, I can keep Kiki's tips in my mind as I scrap and hopefully I will be more productive! 

    (I borrowed this book from the library.)

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