Archive | December 2015

A Brief Look Back

2015 grew into a pretty good year, even though it didn’t start off too well.

Brian and I celebrated 25 years of marriage and I gained three new family members a grandson, a granddaughter and a daughter-in-law. 💖

 

I have met a lot of new people, mostly involved one way or another in the Indie Author movement/industry, authors, editors, P.A.s, cover artists, readers and fans.
I am happy to say, that most of these people have welcomed me into their lives and I have become good friends with some of them.
I have also read some damn good books that I probably would have missed out on, had I not become a part of the indie family, and what a family they are! 💖

I started blogging this year and now have two reasonably successful blogs, plus a book review page on Facebook.
Without the encouragement of my friends this blog would probably have been abandoned by now, and my review page wouldn’t exist.
My biggest shock this year is that I have authors asking me to read and review their books.
Looking back to my first post on this blog I said:

I can’t imagine anyone being interested enough, in what I say, to read it.

It would seem, however, that some people are interested… who knew!

I would like to take a moment to thank each and every one of you who have shown me true friendship and supported me during the past year.💖

I hope that 2016 brings you good health and happiness!

RBR

Books I Read In December

Blood Ties (Blood Trilogy Book 1)

by J. Nicholls

A fantastic start to another adventurous and sexy series by Julie Nicholls.
Join the well-fleshed out characters, Keagan, Gabriel and Lyssa, as they face betrayal and danger at the hands of Dr.Keller and Solgen Laboratories.
It’s not all treachery and peril though, there’s also love, and plenty of hot and steamy action in this fast-paced story.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to find out more about Ghost, and what happens next!’

I received an ARC of Blood Ties from Julie Nicholls in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

 

First of three books in the Blood Trilogy.

Keagen was tall, muscular, and stronger than most men were, although he wasn’t exactly a man. His genes were human DNA with a hint of animal, courtesy of Solgen Laboratories. It wasn’t common knowledge what the company did, and their labs were all in secret locations. Only their financial backers knew where they were. Who supported them was unclear. Possibly the government, private military organizations, or even wealthy dictators; no one knew. You would not find any documentation about it. It wasn’t legal what they were doing, that’s for sure.
Keagen tracked and hunted escapees and always caught his prey, but just one eluded him. Gabriel, a lycan.

K 3 4 G E N is Solgen Laboratories number one hunter. He’s genetically enhanced and has a high IQ, heightened senses, and thanks to lycan DNA, he is stronger and faster than any man. It’s taken him a year to find Solgen Labs most wanted escapee; Gabriel, a lycan, and K 3 4 G E N is finally bringing him in, but despite his one hundred percent retrieval rate, his title and life are about to expire.
The labs have created a new hunter, a female. G H 0 5 C T – She’s faster, stronger, and has a new genetic enhancement that gives her the edge. She’s a trained killer, and is eager to replace K 3 4 G E N, robbing him of his title and crown.
Feeling betrayed, K 3 4 G E N turns to his enemy, Gabriel. He hands Gabriel a file containing details of his sister, who was executed at the hands of Dr. Keller, the founder of Solgen Labs. Seeking an alliance, he offers to help Gabriel find out what happened to his sister.
Gabriel must make a choice; trust the hunter, or run and hide as he had done previously.
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…In One Basket (Time Will Tell Book 3)

by Les Lynam

Another great, fun-filled book from Les Lynam !
Having read the first two books of the series I was looking forward to reading …In One Basket, and I was not disappointed.
The book follows on from where the second book ended and I was pulled straight back into the story.
My old friends Sean, Jane/Kate and LX are back and better than ever, and I loved the surprising development of Steffi’s character.
It was an exciting and enjoyable read, filled with non-stop action and unexpected twists!

After her relocation from 1969, Jane joins LX and Sean in an attempt to kidnap a clone from the Schattenwelt space station in the year 2169. Sean is shocked to find that he has already been there twice, but even more surprised by the team leader.
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Travel Glasses

by Chess Desalls

A thrilling start to a new, interesting and unusual time travelling tale. It was a quick and easy read that grabbed me on page one and took me for an adventurous ride, with several twists and turns along the way.

The world building was fantastic, and thanks to the creative and vivid descriptions, it was easy to see each place that Calla visited, from Edgar’s small cottage in the clearing by the still stream to the White Tower with its long door-lined hallway.

Learning about the futuristic technology and inventions, and the ‘physics and laws’ of time travel at the same time as Calla, helped me to feel what she was feeling.

The characters were well-developed and each had their own personality and voice. As the book continued I learnt more about each one, their backgrounds and the reasons behind their behaviour and actions.

I loved this amazing start to a new series and have already read the second book. I’m now waiting for book 3.

Calla Winston’s mobile devices sit in a corner of her room, covered in dust. Weeks ago, she shared photos and laughs with her best online friend. Now, after having felt the sting of betrayal, she prefers being hidden and friendless. She equates privacy with security and technology with pain.

Then she meets Valcas, an otherworldly time traveler who traverses time and space with a pair of altered sunglasses. When an ethereal being knocks Calla to the ground near her family’s lakeside cottage, Valcas uses the Travel Glasses to help her escape. He offers his further protection in exchange for a promise. Intrigued by Valcas and the possibility of time travel, Calla accepts. That is until she learns that his search for her was no mere coincidence.

Calla sets off on her own, taking the Travel Glasses with her. Torn between searching for her estranged father and reuniting with the rest of her family, she tracks down the inventor of the Travel Glasses in hopes of discovering more about Valcas’ past and motivations. The Travel Glasses take Calla’s mistrust of technology to all new levels. But without them, she’ll never make it back home. With Valcas hot on her trail, Calla hopes to find what she’s looking for before he catches up.

The Call to Search Everywhen is a serial series of novel-length installments. Travel Glasses is YA fantasy filled with metafiction and other literary twistiness. It’s a thought-provoking narrative about trust, relationships, reality and illusion.
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Insight Kindling

by Chess Desalls

Book 2 of the series is also a quick and gripping read, and like book 1, it is well written, intriguing and kept my attention right through to the last page.
This book picks up where the first book finished and once again I joined Calla on a wild and adventurous ride.

We learn more about the technologies, difficulties, and rules of time travel, and the unique special ‘abilities’ that each traveler has, and many questions left from book one are answered.

The world building is just as wonderful and the new characters brought into the story are as fascinating and three-dimensional as the ones we met in book one.

I recommend that you read the first book, Travel Glasses, before reading Insight Kindling.

I won an eCopy of this book in a Facebook giveaway.

After her relocation from 1969, Jane joins LX and Sean in an attempt to kidnap a clone from the Schattenwelt space station in the year 2169. Sean is shocked to find that he has already been there twice, but even more surprised by the team leader.
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The Phoenix Project

by D.M. Cain


An original, entertaining, thought-provoking and, at times, an uncomfortable read.
The story line was well thought out, refreshingly unique and well worth reading.

I followed Ravens journey in the present as he dealt with life in prison and the brutality of the Phoenix Project, and learnt, through a series of flashbacks, how he ended up there.
His remorse, self-loathing and guilt, but also his survival instinct are graphically brought to life by D.M. Cain.

The world Raven inhabits is brought to life by the authors detailed and descriptive writing.

I was gifted an eCopy of the book by the author.

A thought provoking and compelling dystopian world that will change the way you view justice…

In prisons across the country, inmates are forced to fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.

Raven Kennedy, a bitterly depressed young prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war wages within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines. Can he survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him—and one day find the forgiveness he seeks?
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Heads & Tales

by Karina Kantas

A great collection of well-written, easy to read short stories.
The book contains a mix of genres, and as with most anthologies, some stories appealed to me than others, and some of them left me wanting more!

My favourites were Haunted by his Absence, Nobel Heart, Crossed and Twist of Fate.

Heads & Tales is a collection of 28 short stories that will delight, fright and leave you questioning your sanity.
Diverse collection of flash and short fiction. Includes the award winning horror story Crossed.

Thought provoking storytelling at its best.

Genres include horror, comedy, romance, thriller, science fiction, historical romance and prose.
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Stake-Out (Paranormal Detectives #1)

by Lily Luchesi

This book grabbed my attention on page one and didn’t let go until the last page.

Stake Out is a short book that that packs a great deal into it… vampires, werewolves and witches plus visions, danger and intrigue.
The authors descriptive details immerse you in the action. and pull you through the twists and turns in the story.

This book is an impressive start to what will most likely be an awesome series.

Detective Danny Mancini is on a case, following a murder suspect. When he catches him, he finds out that the perp isn’t even human: he’s a 200 year old rogue vampire!

The department doesn’t believe him, and puts him on early retirement, despite his many years of service to the Chicago Police Department, which sends him into a downward spiral.

Two years later, Danny gets an invitation from the beautiful, young and very attractive Detective Angelica Cross to join a secret branch of the FBI to help her track down Vincent, the wayward vamp.

But renegade werewolves, meddling immortal witches and Danny’s strange visions of a life lived a century ago with Angelica make things more difficult than it should be.
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Miranda’s Rights (Paranormal Detectives Book Two)

by Lily Luchesi

As with the first book, this one also kept me interested from beginning to end.
It’s another quick and easy read, which is hard to put down.
Once again the authors descriptive writing and attention to detail draws you into the story.

I think the book works well as a stand-alone, but reading Stake-Out first gives you more insight into the characters, their backgrounds and their relationships.

I am now looking forward to reading the next book on the series.

I received an ARC of Miranda’s Rights from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

The dead don’t always rest easy…
Retired detective, Danny Mancini, is haunted by nightmares after he found out that paranormal creatures exist. All he wants is to forget them…especially a certain half-vampire. When cursed werewolves show up trying to kill him, he is forced to go back to the Paranormal Investigative Division for help against a powerful old enemy. What he was not expecting was a dead ex showing back up after twenty-six years.
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The Lost Soul (Enchena #1)

by K.S. Marsden

An enjoyable and interesting fantasy story, that kicked off at a fast trot, maybe a little too fast at the start, but settled down to a slower pace that let the tension and suspense capture my attention.

The plot was well-thought out, and included plenty of information and the history surrounding the events. The adventure, mystery, intrigue and danger all go into make this a great story.

The detailed descriptions allowed me to visualise the landscape, the scenes and the characters.
I loved the whole host of interesting and diverse characters, from humans to unicorns and even the ‘feared’ Mallus.

I won a copy of The Lost Soul in a giveaway.

Enchena’s history is written by the victorious. Through war and betrayal, King Hrafn’s reign has spread across the land. The rebellion is stirring again…

In a world where the evil nature of humans has infected the very forests and animals surrounding them, they are crying out for a new hope; a new hero.
Natural enemies must come together, to overcome the curse.

Two innocent people must be brought from another world. One will bring the rebellion the way to succeed; the other will be their destruction.
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A Casualty of Grace

by Lisa Brown

This touching and emotional story follows Oliver on his journey to manhood, after losing his parents, being forcefully transported to Canada and being ‘adopted’ by a family far from his home.
It is a realistic, thoroughly researched historical fiction that flows well.
All the characters are thoughtfully developed and I felt for Oliver, Simon, Liza and even, towards the end, for the cruel and flawed, Pritchard.
I was a little disappointed with the ending, which seemed rushed and was set many years after the main story.


I received an eCopy of A Casualty of Grace from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Oliver and Simon are young brothers who are unexpectedly orphaned and left alone in the world with nobody to care for them. Now, all they have is each other, and the threat of being torn apart becomes painfully real. The promise of a good home together in distant Canada eases their fears, but it is a promise that is destined to be broken.

After being separated from Simon, fate delivers Oliver to the Pritchard farm, where Liza Pritchard, a woman struggling with her own fractured and afflicted life, sees in Oliver the family she so desperately wants. But Oliver has to contend with her husband, an angry and violent man, and he can’t see past the terrible life he has been thrust into. Both Oliver and Liza have much to learn about faith and forgiveness, and together they embark on an emotional journey that will change each of them forever.
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Behind the Music: A Selection of Short Stories

by Karen J. Mossman

A wonderful and well-written book of short romantic stories.
Each one was believable, interesting and enjoyable to read.

I won an eCopy of this book in a Facebook event

Behind the Music looks at the real people behind the images of stage and screen in five fictional stories. Karen has based it mainly in the nineties and we meet the burnt out rock star who thinks he has nothing else to give; Nick playing his first concert on home ground; A reunion between students from a seaside town, but one is now a West End star; Mickey finally laying to rest the ghosts of his past and an interview with a band member whose grass roots she is proud of.
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The Betrayal of Ka (The Transprophetics #1)

by Shea R. Oliver

After a slow start, the pace picked up and I was taken for a roller coaster of a ride, through the twists and turns of an interesting and complicated plot, told from multiple perspectives, that come together as the story progresses.

The main characters were three-dimensional and well-developed, and although didn’t much like Ka at the beginning of the book, my opinion of him changed well before the end of the book. Some of the other characters were much easier to like, and some to dislike.


Fortunately, the story ends in a good place, without a cliff-hanger, but making it clear that there is more to the story, which I am looking forward to reading.


I received an eCopy of The Betrayal of Ka from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

As the spaceship secretly lands on Earth, Ka’s mission is clear: find and kill Transprophetics. His shipmates think of him as a killer. On his home planet of Koranth, he is considered a murderer. Haunted in his dreams by the boy whose life he stole, Ka struggles to define who he really is.

A girl in a temple in Thailand. A boy kidnapped in Mexico. Both can do the impossible. Both can move objects with their minds. These two Transprophetics pose grave risks to the Donovackia Corporation as it plans its invasion of Earth.

With a blade in his hand, Ka’s decision to kill, or not, will reverberate across the galaxy.
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The Last Roadshow

by John Czarnota

An enjoyable and presumably well-researched book, I say presumably because I know nothing about the artists mentioned or The Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The main protagonist, Joe Knocker, was interesting and likeable, and the book jumps back and forth in time as Joe reminisces about previous ‘jobs’, which also adds depth to his character.
I found myself rooting for Joe to finish his journey successfully.
The cast of characters he met on his journey were, for the most part, well fleshed out.

I received an eCopy of The Last Roadshow from John Czarnota in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Joe Knocker’s lucrative career as a rogue art thief who trailed the Antiques Roadshow for over a decade is interrupted by a life-changing encounter with his past. The result, a cross-country trek to make right one of the nation’s wrongs by retrieving a national treasure, leads to a heart attack, a missing body, a kidnapping, a promising romance, a showdown, and a shocking reunion. Interweaving historical fact with psychological insight and colorful characters, The Last Roadshow takes us on an unforgettable redemptive journey.
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The Rectifier: Volumes 1 and 2 (A Frank Jackson Short Story)

by Glenn A. Jones

25760603I read Volumes 1 and 2 and I enjoyed them, but they were very short, I read them both in under an hour.
The stories were action-packed, but I didn’t get drawn in, and the characters were lacking in personality.
The protagonist, Frank Jackson, was unconvincing – suffering from amnesia he accepted too easily that it was his job is to kill those that escaped justice.


I received both volumes from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Frank Jackson is a rectifier, he rights wrongs caused by senseless and desperate criminals. When the court system fails, he’s there to exact his own high-powered vigilante justice.

He’s also a man without a past, a man desperately seeking what he has lost.

In the first of a series of electrifying short stories, a coma and subsequent amnesia thrusts Frank Jackson into an unfamiliar world of intrigue and adventure where he relies upon his gut instinct to survive.

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Finding Home

by Jesse Birkey

An engaging and well-written book with plenty of twists.
The descriptive writing and the realistic characters drew me into this story of tragedy, love and hope.

I didn’t find the book at all ‘preachy’, although to me, some parts of the book seemed to be bordering on fantasy.

I received a copy/an eCopy of Finding Home from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

John had been a pillar in his local church, but the loss of his family in a terrible accident destroyed all he’d known to be true. After cutting ties with everyone and moving across the country, he settled into a life of alcohol, women, and bar fights.

John wanted to turn his back on God and the beliefs he grew up with, but an encounter with a mystical stranger makes him think twice. Can John wade through the trauma of his past and lifelong pain of his heart to connect with God once again?

“Home” for Alice was a suffocating prison of sex and drugs until a suicide attempt took her to Redwood, New York. A new relationship with Jesus brought life from her ashes, but memories of her childhood still escape her, leaving a void nothing can fill. Can a surprising move and chance at love finally bring light to the darkness?
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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 32 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Tales of Crime & Violence by Paul White

The three book collector editions.

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This remarkable three volume collection encompasses numerous and varied stories of acts and deeds of crime and violence. Paul White has once again woven his masterly spell of intrigue into each stories plot. Secrecy, scheming, plotting and conspiracy live hand-in-hand with outrageous and shocking violence, viciousness and brutality.

All three volumes of Tales of Crime & Violence are packed with carnage and bloodshed and mayhem, while an ominous sense of sinister, physiological apprehension lingers in the dark shadows.

Tales of Crime & Violence contains graphic acts of violence, profanities and sexual reference. It is not recommended for reading for those under adult age.

Tales of Crime & Violence is available in a paperback collection of three volumes, or on Kindle as a complete ‘box-set’.

 

EXCERPT.

……….The Sheriff stopped, as did the two deputies in the following cruisers. Together we walked to the car. I handed one of the deputies the keys. You could feel the heat reflecting from the steel of the bodywork.

It was one hell of a hot day.

When the deputy opened the driver’s door a blast of superheated air escaped. It was so extreme it forced us to take a step backwards and twist our heads away from its intensity. But it was the smell which was most overpowering. I saw, but did not comprehend the glance between the law men. However, I knew that my day was going to get worse when they handcuffed me.

My day certainly became a living nightmare when they opened the trunk. Bobby lay inside. His throat had been sliced from ear to ear and his eyes gouged out. The heat had caused his body to swell and the blood to cook.

I only recognised him by his jeans and boots.

After that it was all a bit of a blur. I was bundled into the sheriff’s car and we raced the few miles to the motel. It looked as deserted as when I left a few hours ago.

From room fourteen all the way to room twenty the doors were open. They were the doors I kicked open during my frantic search for the others.

I explained this to the Officers.

The thing that interested the Sherriff was the sign hanging from the doorknob of room thirteen.

I had not noticed that sign in my earlier panicky state. It said ‘Do not disturb’. What was interesting the lawmen most was the smudged bloody handprint on that sign.

The Deputies drew their guns and crashed the door.

It flew open. The intense odour of putrid dead flesh flooded my nostrils.

Inside the room, laid out across the bed were Kathy and Taylor. They were tethered to the bedstead with strands of rusting wire cable, spread-eagled and naked. Their stomachs had been slit open and their entrails extended across the floor.

Those black flies and an army of brown rats were busily feasting on their remains………

 

BUY LINKS.

box set


UK Paperback

 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=tales+of+Crime+%26+Violence

 
US paperback
 
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Tales+of+Crime+%26+Violence

 
Kindle (worldwide).
 
http://authl.it/B019VNDE5E

Christmas Card

Another quick and easy card I made this year is this one…

CCB

This card was heat embossed on parchment paper, with some peel-offs, glitter and pearls.

Using a clear embossing pen trace the pattern onto a piece of parchment. Cover with white embossing powder, turn the parchment over and tap the back to remove the excess powder.
Using a heat gun, apply the heat to the back of the parchment, directly below one area of powder until it changes then move your heat gun to the next area and so on, until all the powder has changed.
Cut around the edge of the pattern.

Cut a square of white paper the same size as the centre square of the parchment pattern and stick it onto the centre of a square of shiny card.
Stick the parchment onto the card, making sure the white square lines up with the pattern, then stick the whole thing onto a piece of folded white card.

Add a peel-off greeting, a star to the top of the tree and some presents, adding some glitter to the ribbon areas (if needed).
Stick some flat backed pearls on the tree and a larger pearl in each corner.

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Christmas Sale from Enchanted Book Promotions

christmassales

Enchanted Book Promotions is holding Christmas Sales!

If you book two tours with us between December 21 and December 31, you get one FREE tour package! The FREE tour package will be the same one as the smallest package you ordered.

Just purchase two tour packages from the website using the same contact email, and then we’ll get in touch with you about your tours AND your FREE tour package.

Find out more about the sales here, and if you’d like to find out more about the different tour packages, visit this page.

If you have any quesitons, don’t hesitate to contact staff at enchantedbookpromotions@gmail.com.

Christmas Tree Ornaments

Crochet Snowman

ch(s): chain(s)
sc: single crochet
dc: double crochet
sl-st: slip stitch

Snowman
Work 3 ch(s), sl-st into first ch to form a loop
Row 1: Work 6 sc into loop
Row 2: *2sc in each stitch (12)
Row 3: *sc 1, 2sc in next stitch. Repeat from * to end (18)
Row 4: *sc 2, 2sc in next stitch. Repeat from * to end (24)
Rows 5-9 : sc
Row 10: *sc 2, miss 1 stitch. Repeat from * to end  (18)
Row 11: *sc 1, miss 1 stitch. Repeat from * to end (12)
Row 12: *sc 1, 2sc in next stitch. Repeat from * to end (18)
Rows 13-15: sc
Row 16: *sc 1, miss 1 stitch. Repeat from * to end (12)
Row 17: *sc 1, miss 1 stitch. Repeat from * to end (6)
Row 18: *sc 1, miss 1 stitch. Repeat from * to end (3)
Thread yarn through remaining 3 stitches.
Stuff, then pull yarn tightly and fasten off.

Scarf
Work 44 ch(s)
Turn, dc in 4th stitch from hook, dc in each stitch, fasten off.

Embroider eyes, mouth and arms, and attach a loop of ribbon to top of head.

Felt and Bead Santa

Paint a wooden bead pink, draw on eyes and mouth add a small stick on flat backed pearl for nose.

Cut out and sew together the straight edges of the hat and the body.
Add some white trim (felt/fur etc) around the bottom of the hat.

Attach a long loop of ribbon to the inside of the oval base and thread the ribbon loop up through the neck of the body.
Stuff the body, then stitch the base to the bottom of the body.
Thread the ribbon loop through the bead and up through the hat.

Use a little glue or a glue dot to stick the hat to the bead.
Attach a  pompom to the top of the hat.

Take a red pipe-cleaner and cut to length. Bend the pipe-cleaner to make a small hook at each end.
Sew a small bead (hand) to a white pompom (cuff) and attach it to the hook at one end of the pipe-cleaner. Repeat for the other hand.

bead
A couple of stitches at the back of the neck and at each wrist will hold the arms in place.

Thread a small buckle onto a piece of black ribbon, wrap it around the body, stitch the ends together and attach to the back of the body.

Thread a small bell onto some thin ribbon and tie it around the neck.

Use green felt and a green pipe-cleaner, instead of red for an elf.

bead