yarn along

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Reading: The Other Boylen Girl and The Boylen Inheritance, both by Philippa Gregory. I’ve been on a bit of a Tudor kick lately, with these books and a movie about Henry VIII. It’s such a fascinating time period to read about.

Knitting: Still working on my Mara shawl! It’s gotten huge in just a week. I’m almost done with the second skein which will finish up the body of the shawl. Then I just have the ribbed border then it’s done! I’m super excited to finish it.

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yarn along

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Reading: I have an interesting collection of books on my bedside table. And I’ve finished three of them since taking this picture. To be fair, I was nearly done with The Elite, Bleach took just a bit to read, and Scarlet I was most of the way through. I picked up The One from the library but I only got a couple chapters in before I had to put it down. I just got so frustrated with the main character!! I’m finishing my reread of the Lunar Chronicles with Cress. As soon as I can, I’ll see if I can find Winter.

Knitting: A Man Hat with some rockin’ hot pink Malabrigo! I’m so in love with this color and this pattern. The pattern is super quick and simple. I’m really happy with the combo!

Linking up with Jenny!

2 on, 2 off

Le sigh.

What can I say. I cannot stop the casting on. I’m just going to accept that in my life, I will always have several projects on the needles. As long as projects are coming off the needles, I suppose that’s fine.

So, here’s what came off the needles yesterday, the last projects of 2015.

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A Totally Biased! cowl, knit with Cascade Casablanca (a wool, silk, mohair blend). I’ve knit one of these before and love, love, LOVE the pattern. It’s simple without being boring. My first one I knit on size 7s with 36 stitches. This one I knit on size 10s with 40 stitches. It made it much wider, which was what I was going for. The colors are great and there’s green on both ends that you can’t see in the picture. I’ll try to take a better one once this is done blocking and I’ve stitched the seam.

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A belated Christmas present that didn’t get finished in time due to my aversion to picking up stitches. Yes. I hate picking up stitches and will put it off and off and off until I go, what am I doing? I could be done with this by now! The pattern is Toddler Snappy Shoulder Vest knit in Cascade 220 superwash. It really was easy and would’ve been faster had I not toodled around because I don’t enjoy picking up stitches.

And now for what jumped on my needles, one last night, one today.

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This is a Hurricane Hat in Noro Kureyon. I like green. I really like green. And I also like self-striping yarns that look and feel a little like handspun. Also, can you tell I got a ball winder for Christmas?? And that I love it so, so much??

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And lastly, a pair of Berkshires socks in Felici, the Rainbow colorway. The yarn is so bright and happy and stripy! I’m excited to knit these. Also, there’s my book, Colleen Houck’s newest Reawakened. I’m only a few pages into it and already I can tell it’s very different than her first series, the Tiger’s Curse books. Maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe it’s not? Who knows. I finished Airman by Eoin Colfer last night. Oh, I’d forgotten how good that story was. Mm, so good.

Also, I’ve been listening to this song for days on repeat. It’s also very good: I’ll Be Good by Jaymes Young.

Joining Ginny for YarnAlong!

RKLW {2}

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Reading: The Wild Queen by Carolyn Meyer. It’s about Mary, queen of Scots, one of my favorite historical characters! I’ve read a few books by her before and so far it’s pretty good. I have a biography of Mary and it’s nice to see a slightly different perspective.

Knitting: a pair of worsted weight socks in a pretty green wool. I’m using this pattern for them. I worked ten rounds of 2×2 ribbing and a five inch cuff. I’m really hoping I don’t run out of yarn before I finish them, since I don’t have more! I really like the color. I got the yarn from the thrift store, so I’m not sure what brand it is, since there was no ball band.

And I’ve learned to use a drop spindle! I cleared out the entire spinning/dyeing section of my library and I’ve been working my way through the books. I recently bought a gently used Louet spinning wheel and it came with a huge trash bag full of fiber, a pair of hand carders, and two drop spindles, one a top whorl, one a bottom whorl. The wheel has been giving me fits, so I decided to take a break from that and try the spindles. I’m really enjoying learning something new! 🙂

Listening: {Songs that played while writing this post} Because of You-Kelly Clarkson, Fight Song-Rachel Platten (if you have never heard this song, go listen to it. I hear it all the time at work, but oh, it never gets old. It is just so good!), Aki Love-Juliet (it’s in Japanese or Korean, I’m not sure. I think it’s Japanese.),

Watching: nothing right now.

Linking up with Ginny for YarnAlong!

Cinder ~review

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is a cyborg mechanic living with her guardian and sisters in New Beijing. As a cyborg, she doesn’t have the same rights as ‘normal’ people. She is a hard worker, but gets no respect from the people around her. She tries to not let it bother her, focusing on her work instead. Until a chance meeting with Prince Kai, her sister’s sudden illness, and her subsequent voluntelling to join the cyborg draft, that is. Things get a bit complicated after that… And that’s not even mentioning the Lunar Queen and the lost princess!

I’ve heard of Cinder and Marissa Meyer from a few other bloggers. When I saw Cress at the store, I decided, Okay, I think I need to find these books. And I am glad I did! I love sci-fi and I love fairy tales. Cinder is a great mixture of both. Actually, it’s like Cinderella met Star Wars, fell in love, and had a baby. The futuristic elements were really well done. Nothing too far-fetched or unbelievable, for me at least. But I read copious amounts of Star Wars, so it may be different for other people.

As for the characters, they were well thought out and full of depth. I liked that the POV wasn’t all just Cinder. Kai gets a bit of page time, too. Also, there was no Insta-Love! That, I think, more than most other elements, drives me insane with YA novels. Guy meets girl, then BAM! Insta-Love! It’s like they put it in an aerosol can and just spray when applicable. But with Kai and Cinder, they barely got time together, so there may have been some attraction, but it wasn’t the focus of the story. Kai is a great character. It’s nice to see a male character in a YA novel that isn’t just a pretty face and muscles. Kai has a brain and uses it. Cinder is a more complex character who really grows in confidence as the story progresses. Oh, and the great, important secret that is revealed in the second to last chapter? Yeah, I guessed it a third of the way in. 😉

 Aside from the sci-fi stuff, there was more to the story than just a romance. Kai is having trouble with a hostile queen, so there are politics and character growth. The rights of cyborgs get brought up, as well as medical issues.

I really enjoyed Cinder. I haven’t read Scarlet yet, but I have read Cress which I also enjoyed very much, so look out for that review soon. Hopefully.

Recommend? Yes.
Rating-5/5

Insurgent ~review

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Insurgent by Veronica Roth

{I apologize in advance if this is a bit jumbled and confused. I’m fighting a nasty cold that’s left me a little woozy. Sorry for any madness outside of the norm.}

Set immediately after the events of Divergent, Tris and Four are running for their lives. Again. They really don’t get a break, do they? Run, fight, run some more. (Sounds kind of like a recent movie series…) Tris has been hit hard by the death of her parents and still tries to come to grips with it. She, Four, and the remaining Abnegation take refuge in the Amity compound, hoping that the Erudite, the city’s new leaders, won’t think to look for them there.

Yeah, right.

When the Erudite and traitor Dauntless show up, it’s time to move on again. Our daring heroes spend some time in the Candor complex and with the factionless. But after a threat from Jeanine, Tris decides to turn herself in and of course doesn’t tell anyone. She should’ve known that wouldn’t go over well. 

Chases, escapes, rescues, betrayal, and secrets revealed, Insurgent has it all. The pace and writing of the sequel has sped up. It is also more confusing. There are so many sub-plots and Tris’s guilt-tripping make for a head scratching read. And about Tris. She seems to be wallowing in guilt the whole story. Yes, she has done bad things, but devoting pages and pages to her tortured musings does not a story make. She seems to have become more of a two-demensional character than she was in Divergent. Honestly, what is it with people not sharing potentially life-threatening secrets? Like, you know, running off to turn yourself in to your enemy? Yeah, honey, not a good move.

I don’t know. I was underwhelmed by Insurgent. It was just eh. Even more than I thought Divergent was.

Any thoughts? Leave a comment.

{PS. I changed the theme of my blog, in case you didn’t notice.}

Heroes of Olympus ~ series review

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The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan 

As promised, my thoughts on the Heroes of Olympus series. Oh, and there may be spoilers. If you haven’t read the series or any of the Percy Jackson books, I’d advise waiting to read this review.

I started reading the Percy Jackson books about the time The Last Olympian came out. They enthralled me and made me want more, more, MORE! I talked about them with my friends, (sparking a long-standing inside joke with my best friend who I tormented about the series.), and generally all around enjoyed them. When I heard Mr. Riordan was coming out with a new series, a continuation of the old one, I nearly jumped out of my skin in excitement. As soon as The Lost Hero came out, I bought it and had it read in two hours. Then I had to wait a whole year for the next book. It was sheer torture at the time. This cycle repeated itself three more times. I’m not sure what changed, but recently I lost interest in many of the series I formerly loved. It may or may not have had something to do with the horrendous movies made…

Anyway, that’s the back story. I’ve loved Percy Jackson since the beginning. He is such a great character in the original series. Loyal, kooky, not really sure what’s going on sometimes and relying on Annabeth to steer him straight, a total smart-mouth, and not to mention downright hilarious, he was and still is my hands-down favorite character. I loved Annabeth and Grover and Tyson and all the other characters.

{SPOILERS APPROACHING!}

But guess what? Percy isn’t even in the first book aside from a few mentions. Yeah! I know! I was furious. Seething. And flat-out annoyed. Hey, Mr. Riordan! I payed to read about Percy Jackson, not Jason, Piper, and Leo! But I held out hope that the next book would have Percy. And I was right! But oh, look, Percy has lost his memory. Darn you, Mr. Riordan, you just can’t make it easy for our heroes, can you? But if he did, then there wouldn’t be any story… Hmmm….

Point taken, love. {Spoilers mostly done for now}

I suppose I became more and more disappointed as the series went on. The whole style of writing seemed to have changed. There was still the smart-mouthing, the quips and dead-pan comments, and Percy not knowing things, but splitting the narration between three and sometimes four different people was confusing. Mr. Riordan also introduced five new main characters. Okay, that’s four too many, even for me. I utterly loathed Jason and Piper, enjoyed Hazel and Frank, and flat-out howled with Leo.

I think that was the problem. The series became too complicated. Too, too, too much going on. I like a good convoluted plot every now and then, but dude, don’t mess with my Percy Jackson loving. By the time Blood of Olympus‘s release date rolled around, I barely noticed. Instead of, AH! NEW PERCY JACKSON BOOK! SQUEE LIKE A FANGIRL!, it was more along the lines of, Oh, okay, cool. I’ll read it when it comes into the library. Blood of Olympus was also the end of the series. I was expecting something awesome and dramatic that would leave me happy by the time I turned the last page. Something that gave our beloved heroes closure, because you know I’m big on that.

{More minor spoilers!}

I was deeply underwhelmed. The big battles, that had been building up for four books, were over in four chapters or thereabouts. It was disappointing, to say the least. I had been let down by one of my favorite authors! *dramatic gesture* And I was sad, too. I don’t know if there will ever be a continuation of Percy’s story. There was no closure, at least not for me. Rick Riordan, you have let me down.

Okay, I know what you must be thinking by now. ‘Wow, she seems really down on the series, maybe I shouldn’t read them.’ Please don’t think that, dears. They are good books overall. They just aren’t great. I enjoyed them for a time, and I’m sure I’ll go back and reread them, but I’m no longer obsessed. Maybe that’s a good thing…?

So yeah, there you have it. My long-winded thoughts on The Heroes of Olympus series… I hope I didn’t lose you halfway through. 🙂