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!

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.}

rainbow spines

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When you look at books, the first thing you see is the spine of the book. Sometimes the spines are very pretty. Sometimes they’re really ugly. I searched through my favorite books to find ones with pretty, rainbow spines. Here they are in order. I hope this cheers up your dreary day!

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Red

Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll~ I just had to include this book. My blog is named Alice In Bookland, after all! And the book itself is stunningly pretty. I love the vintage spine. And the White Rabbit on the front? Darling!

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Orange

Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham~ The third of the Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer books by John Grisham. The spine looks more red than orange, but whatever. This is a really good book, great for boys. And girls!

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Yellow

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne~ I think this book was printed in the 1930s or so. It is gorgeous!

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Green

Tiger’s Destiny by Colleen Houck~ Number four in the Tiger’s Curse series.

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Blue

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall~ Can I say how much I love the Penderwicks? The sisterly love between them is wonderful. The story is sweet. Skye trying to be the OAP (oldest available Penderwick) is hilarious. This is the third in the Penderwick series.

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Indigo

Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery~ My favorite of all the Anne books. I like it because Anne is older (but not too old), and it has romance. And Gilbert! Oh, I have such a literary crush on Gilbert…

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Violet

The Quiet Light- A Novel about Saint Thomas Aquinas by Louis de Wohl~ Louis de Wohl is one of my favorite authors ever in the history of authorship. His books are so well written, so detailed, and the subjects are wonderful. This one, about Saint Thomas Aquinas, is one of my favorites. And it’s one of the only books I have that has a purple spine!

Care to share your favorite rainbow spine books? Comment below!

the great controversy

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Have you seen Pride and Prejudice?

I ask that question sometimes when I meet a fellow British drama fan. If the answer is yes, I’ll (cautiously) pose the following question.

Which version? {raises eyebrow, looks out of the corner of the eye} The Colin Firth one or the Matthew Macfaydon one?

Isn’t it interesting how the different versions are identified by who plays Mr. Darcy? This tells you how interesting my life must be if I argue about British movies in my spare time then write blog posts about it. 🙂 And if you must know, the correct answer is the Colin Firth version. I tried to be objective when watching the 2005 version and not compare it to the 1995 one, but, oh, it was hard. They are. just. so. different. I’ll start with the 2005 movie.

What I liked about the 2005 version:

I recognized most of the cast from other movies I’ve seen. For example:

Judy Dench as Lady Catherine (Cranford)
Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth Bennet (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Simon Woods as Mr. Bingley (Penelope, Cranford)
Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet (Wives and Daughters)
Kelly Reilly as Caroline Bingley (Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows)
Claudie Blakley as Charlotte Lucas (Lark Rise to Candleford, Cranford, Bright Star)
Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins (Pirates of the Caribbean, Wives and Daughters)

Mrs. Bennet wasn’t nearly as squawkingly excitable. (THANK GOODNESS!)

Jane was lovelier. It was funny to me that Jane was called the pretty one in the BBC show, but that Elizabeth was much prettier.

I’d rather go to the balls in this one than at the other one. They seemed more fun. The whole scene when the Bennets are embarrassing themselves was almost completely cut out, which relieved me. Of all the scenes, that was my least favorite. Talk about cringe-worthy relatives!

I liked Georgiana better. She was younger and more real, even if you only saw her for all of a minute and a half.

The music was amazing! I would buy the soundtrack. The theme is distinctive and is woven nicely all throughout.

The set seemed to be more lived in, like the Bennets had lived at Longbourne for more than just an hour.

Favorite scene from the movie: when Mr. Bingley comes to Longbourne and they bolt through the room cleaning up! I love that they aren’t all prim and proper all day. This movie seemed to be more lighthearted.

What I didn’t like about the 2005 version:

Some of the characters were just off, such as:
Mr. Collins wasn’t slimy like he was supposed to be. He was just weird.
Mr. Bingley and Mr. Bennet were ridiculous, even more so than usual.
And Wickham, the villain of the story, was barely in the movie! He had three scenes at the most. I know that it was a much shorter movie and very little time was devoted to back story, but it was just silly. Little to no explanation was given why Lydia ran off with him, or why he and Darcy disliked each other so much. Disappointing.
Charlotte Lucas wasn’t played too well. Neither was Mrs. Bennet. I liked that Mrs. Bennet was quieter, but when she complained of nerves, it wasn’t as believable.

The story jumped around a bit too quickly. It was hard to tell what was going on sometimes.

The historical inaccuracy was appalling. They couldn’t seem to decide what period the clothes should be from. Bingley would NEVER have gone into Jane’s sick room. Elizabeth should have always worn a hat when going out. Caroline Bingley wouldn’t have worn a sleeveless dress at the Netherfield ball. Lady Catherine, soul of propriety, would not have appeared in the middle of the night to yell at Elizabeth. And walking around in their night-clothes being okay? No, no, no!!

Oh, Mr. Darcy… He had one good line. That’s it. It was a good line, though. Why did he keep just walking into other houses? Talk about random.

And don’t mess with Jane Austen’s words. That is a big, BIG no-no. Honestly, I think she knew what she was doing when she wrote them!

What I liked about the 1995 version:

How much of the story they were able to put into the show. It’s so detailed, rich, and does justice to Jane Austen’s wonderful novel.

The costumes and setting were accurate. No detail was missed. Seriously, I would LOVE to wear Elizabeth’s clothes. Stunning!

You’re able to see back story and character development. Like, the Bingley sisters, Mrs. Gardiner, Wickham’s past and connection to Mr. Darcy, you know, that kind of thing.

Wickham is actually a bad guy! Lydia is an air-headed girl who’s only interest is boys! Mrs. Bennet is in the fidgets all the time! Mary is snooty and silly!

Mr. Bennet is really a funny character. Watching him play opposite to screechy Mrs. Bennet is hilarious. His sense of humor is so dry and sarcastic without being sarcastic.

Lady Catherine is suitably haughty and grand. She’s so demanding. “I am most displeased!”

Mr. Collins… Ooo…he’s so slimy and gross! The other one was just weird, but he is physically repulsive.

And finally….Mr. Darcy. Colin Firth really captures the brooding, dark gorgeousness that is Mr. Darcy. Sometimes he takes the brooding just a bit far. Like when you can count on one hand how many times he smiles! He’s sharp enough to counter Elizabeth’s wit, but vulnerable enough to feel. I love when he and Elizabeth run into each other at Pemberly. Classic! There has never been and never will be a better Mr. Darcy. Unless Richard Armitage played him…

The music is so amazing and distinctive. Unfortunately, it’s unavailable for purchase. A friend found me a copy at a thrift store not that long ago. Love that album.

What I didn’t like about the 1995 version:

Mr. Darcy was right. The Bennets displayed a complete lack of propriety just about anywhere they went. It was hard to watch.

Mr. Collins. Ugh, he creeps me out. I just don’t like the character at all. And he shouldn’t have married Charlotte Lucas. Mary Bennet would have been a better match for him!

I don’t think they cast Caroline Bingley very well. She looks nothing like Mr. Bingley.

Let’s summarize!

All in all, I think that the 1995 version wins for me. Now, if they could take the best parts of both movies and put them together, it would be an amazing movie.

All right, sound off. 1995 or 2005? Colin Firth or Matthew Macfaydon? Tell me which one you prefer! Do you ever have violent arguments about British dramas? I’ll chat about them with you if you don’t have anyone else! 🙂 Comment and tell me all about it!

Alex O’Donnell and the 40 CyberThieves~ review

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Alex O’Donnell and the 40 CyberThieves: A Fairy Tale Retold- by Regina Doman

CKTC: Curiosity Killed The Cat….

Alex O’Donnell, Mercy College’s resident swordfighter and ninja, is back! Coming home from college, he finds out that his dad has been at his computer antics again. Only this time, it’s pretty serious. Mr. O’Donnell has found a cyberthieves site. To get off the site, he had to enter a series of numbers. Now the O’Donnells have received well over a million dollars. Then the FBI gets involved and the thieves find out where the O’Donnells are and what they know about them. The O’Donnells and Alex’s girlfriend Kateri are now targets. Will Alex be able to protect his family? Or will the cyberthieves win in the end?

Of all the Fairy Tale Novels, Alex O’Donnell is more of a swashbuckling pirate story than a fairy tale. We have swordfighting, cyberthieves, computer hackers, the Samurai Cat, fans with sword blades, G.K. Chesterton, hotels and enough action-adventure for a movie! Alex makes me laugh just with some of the things he says. Kateri is an interesting character. If you’ve read Waking Rose, you’ll have already met her. Seeing her interact with the O’Donnells, whose lifestyle is very different from hers, certainly is amusing.

Mrs. Doman raises some good points about Internet use throughout the book. The Internet is a tool, but it is one that can be very easily abused. Alex O’Donnell is a good way to teach boys about some of the temptations on the Internet and to avoid them. This book is geared toward teenage boys, but all ages should enjoy it. The story is much more light-hearted than its predecessors, but there are a couple of issues that parents might want to know about. Read the Picky Parents Guide here.

So there you have it! All but one of Regina Doman’s Fairy Tale novels reviewed. I haven’t read the last book, Rapunzel Let Down yet and I’m not sure if I will. If I do, I’ll be sure to review it for you. 🙂 I’ll be working my way through Louis de Wohl’s novels next. Look out for those reviews over the next few weeks. De Wohl and Sherlock as well.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it? Comment below!