What, a knitting blog? It’s been a while!

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It’s about time I had a knitting update! To be fair though, a lot of things recently – or at least, it feels like a lot of things – have been Christmas knits. I don’t usually knit for Christmas, not in a serious way at least. So I’ll remain incognito about the Christmas stuff.
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I made some leg warmers. I haven’t ever made leg warmers before, and to be fair, I haven’t actually worn them yet. I used the same yarn that I used for my OWLs sweater [which is getting a lot of wear right now!] which is the Hobbycraft Women’s Institute yarn in Aran weight. The leg warmers turned out really well, and they fit well. I decided to not make the iCord though, as I lost interest in them.

The pattern that I used for them was Slouchy Cabled Legwarmers – link to Ravelry. It’s a free pattern, from a designer I’ve bought patterns from before. It’s easy enough to read and implement, although I didn’t read the chart properly and just went for it on the first one – twisted some of the cables a different way, and then didn’t in other places. Despite it, it’s turn out okay. With how cold it’s been the last few days, I may end up wearing them to bed!

I really need to improve the photography of my knitting. And stop just using my iPhone photos – but that will do for now as that’s all I have to share with you… although, here’s a picture of Artie modelling one of the leg warmers…
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The other project I’d like to share with you right now is my remake of “A Floral Affair” which was originally a pattern in Knit Now magazine. When I made this the first time there was a typo or formatting error or something like that that I didn’t pick up on until it was too late. I didn’t undo my work as I was still hoping for the best, but it didn’t work out. [That vest is sitting in the wardrobe, but I’m not entirely sure what to do with it… donate it? Throw it? I just don’t know!].

I was looking forward to remaking this, and again choose some Women’s Institute yarn, this time the “smooth and silky” range which is a sport weight yarn. It’s what I used before and use it quite regularly so can trust it. More or less.
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The project went well, used around 2.5 balls of yarn. The only weird thing that happened with this project was that the second ball of yarn I used – which to be fair it was a different dye lot – but it was thicker than the first yarn. I perhaps should have switched it out for the third ball, but I don’t think it’s made much of a difference in terms of the gauge or anything like that.

I probably could have done with making the ribbing section longer on the arms, but I was keen to cast off by the time I got to the arms… plus, I needed to rest my hands a bit as they were starting to hurt from all the knitting. [Not that I rested them for long, I went straight onto more Christmas stuff].

Again, I really need to start taking better photo’s as it makes my knitting looks rubbish like this! It’s really not though, promise!
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What’s on your needles at the moment? Care to share?

Happy Christmas knitting!

Kialtho

The Runner (Avi Bloom #1) – J.M. Johnson

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I’d seen this book advertised on Amazon about a year ago, and it’s one that kept calling my nam to read as the premise sounded so interesting, and completely up my street. However, whilst it is interesting, it also needs a bit of work.


Here’s the synopsis:

The Runner – the first book in the young adult dystopian Avi Bloom series…

Ten years ago the president of the United States declared that global warming had reached a tipping point from which it would not recover. In answer to this dilemma, modern technology was shut down. The elderly and other volunteers could opt to live out the rest of their lives in a virtual world, but all others were left to fend for themselves.

Avi Bloom lives in a world in which each family must contribute one child as a runner. A runner risks life and limb to travel from village to village delivering news and other small items. Avi is one run shy of retiring when she discovers that whole villages are disappearing, leaving only a few dead bodies and the youngest children behind. Now, Avi must find out who or what is responsible for these missing people as she goes on a journey and discovers friendship, love, and betrayal. She also discovers that the forces behind these disappearances are much larger and more frightening than she could ever have imagined.

This is a young adult novel with mild violence.

The premise is interesting – a world with the power turned off, a year to prepare – safe guarding elderly in virtual reality [how, if there’s no power?]. Every family contributes their eldest/first born to be a runner, delivering messages to other towns and villages and bringing them back – performing trades etc.

Avi is our main protagonist. She was trained from a much younger age to be a runner, and she also has doubled the required number of runs she had to complete in order to repay her adoptive family for looking after her when her mother died and her father disappeared. [Typical hero in the making, then?].

Avi has heard about the disappearing villages, but doesn’t think it’ll happen in her patch. But of course, it does, and now Avi is involved to solve the problem. After rescuing some children from the most recent disappeared village Avi is tasked with finding out more information regarding what happened, and possibly find the parents.

So she sets out on a Quest. Gathers some followers. Decides she going to find Daddy rather than solve the Quest.

Add some weird magic that isn’t explained nor necessary, plus if this is the future why would there be magic?

I think my main problem with this book was that far too much happened and jumped around in that it didn’t allow the deeper aspects of the book develop. There was also only 17 chapters, but at chapter 13 we’re still in Mall, not gathered all the followers and having some instaromance, an of course, a love triangle and an evil adversary.

I feel that if things had been fleshed out, the ending could have been justified. I wanted to love this book, I wanted it to be the next best thing, however, I’m not sure I’m going to make it to the second book. I’ll have to have a think about it…

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Kialtho

The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown

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With the release of Inferno in the cinemas recently, I had planned to zoom through The Lost Symbol and at least have made a start on Inferno… that didn’t happen though. This particular book review/entry will probably contain spoilers, just so you’re aware. It has been out for some time now anyway [not that that makes someone spoiling something for you okay, which is why I always try to include these warnings].


Synopsis – From GoodReads:

In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world’s most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling – a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths…all under the watchful eye of Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, DC., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object – artfully encoded with five symbols – is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation…one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon – a prominent Mason and philanthropist – is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations – all of which seem to be dragging hi toward a single, inconceivable truth.

As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown’s novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histries, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown’s fans have been waiting for…his most thrilling novel yet.

It’s been a very long time since I picked up a Robert Langdon book. In fact, a very long time since I read a Dan Brown book. I’m thinking over ten years, possibly even longer than that as I know I read Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code in school. It’s been so long, so I have to say that while the character of Robert Langdon was familiar, I couldn’t say that I remembered him completely – except what I had seen in the Inferno film a few weeks back,

I was looking forward to reading as I had assumed it was going to be a quick read, as I remembered the others to be, but my expectation fell far short from reality. It’s taken me ages to get through this one, and not just because I haven’t been able to dedicate the amount of time to it either. I would read, and feel like I had been reading for a long time, and make no progress. There is an awful lot of content to consider in this book, and some of which I think could have been edited out a bit.

The plot is heavily invested in the Freemasons – a group based in reality that I have little information about. Robert Langdon is called to Washington to give a lecture, but is tricked and instead has to help a maniac find the Masonic Pyramid, and then if that wasn’t enough – he had to decipher it as well.

Aside from Robert, we have a couple of other characters to note. Katherine Solomon, scientist in Noetics, previous romantic interest, sister to the kidnapped Peter Solomon. Peter Solomon, and the Soloman family, are wealthy – extremely so, but mired in tragedy. From the loss of his son and mother some years back, there’s just Katherine and Peter now. Peter also, conveniently is the head of the Masons.

Oh, and he’s just had his arm chopped off by a psycho. Not that you would know.

Peters’ hand is the start of the mystery for Robert. Masonic rituals, the CIA, Katherine, the odd religious leader here and there guide Robert through the journey of deciphering the pyramid in the hopes of saving Peter. The CIA doesn’t want him to do this. They couldn’t care about Peter any less, in fact.

So Robert is facing difficulty all around. As with many books, not just this one, artistic licence allows Robert to survive everything that comes his way without too much effort. Heck, he even gets drowned in ‘breathable liquid’ before being rescued by the CIA and continuing on with his efforts to save his friend. This actually happens a little too often in this book for my liking, and at times I was like… seriously? Unless you were a main character, you were probably going to end up dead.

The Lost Symbol became a search for the The Lost Word, which when revealed both wasn’t lost, not particularly interesting in my opinion. Certainly didn’t make me want to find a copy of the Bible and give it a read.

When we’re given some history into Peter’s life, and his losses, like that of his son, I had guessed from that moment how the plot was going to go. The maniac that tortured Peters family? Naturally it was his ‘dead’ son, back to wreck his revenge. This was just too darn predictable, and once this revelation was aired, not only was I disappointed – I had wanted to be wrong about it – but I lost interest in the last few sections, skim reading it more than paying any particular attention to it. I wasn’t interested in the Bible being the lost word, I wasn’t interested in Katherine and Robert seeing the sunrise with the Obelisk [again, I called that at the beginning of the book].

I was hoping for a thrilling read, which I didn’t exactly get. The answers weren’t great, and of course, everyone that was important were saved and survived. Also, Peter apparently magically healed up, and didn’t need hospital treatment after his ordeal of being tortured and having his hand chopped off, because he was able to do loads of stuff for Robert and Katherine before the end of the book, like taking them to the top of the Obelisk, and sending them back to the Capitol building.

The journey in the book took only about 10 hours from finding the hand to the  final revelation. 10 hours. Reading it took so much more.

I really wanted to be enthralled by this one like I was with the others, and it makes me question whether I will read the final book – even though I enjoyed the film, can I bring myself to do it? Dan Brown’s writing style in this one irritated me more than once with the constant cliffhangers and treating his readers a little like uneducated masses – I feel like I shouldn’t have been able to call what was going to happen, especially so early in the story.

Have you read this? What did you think?

Happy reading!

Kialtho

Dune – Frank Herbert

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According to Wikipedia this book is the biggest selling Science Fiction book ever. I had wanted to read it before knowing that, if I’m honest, as I love classic scifi. H.G. Wells is most definitely one of my favourite authors, and I had wanted to branch out a bit into other areas of classic scifi. So I decided to pick this up and see what’s what…

Synopsis:

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender’s Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or ‘spice’, is the most valuable – and rarest – element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person’s life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.

In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them.

And his journey will change the universe.

I started reading this book with such high hopes, but the further I got into the harder it became to stick to and to finish. I know that there are people out there that must swear by the book as though it were some sort of religion, but I found it mighty hard to keep going through it.

We are introduced to the Atreides family, Duke Leto, his concubine Lady Jessica, and their son Paul. There’s a lot of world building going on, with a lot of political intrigue, alongside the internal and external politics of the time. There’s an empire, with a somewhat ruthless Emperor on the throne, lots of backstabbing and killing, double meanings and intrigue.

On Arrakis there is the most valuable material in the whole universe, a spice called Melange [I didn’t realise that this was what it was called until someway through the book]. Duke Leto has been put in charge in a politically motivated stunt that will see him killed. And he knows it.

There’s also a lot of mention of religion, from the Bible through to the appropriation of the Arabic/Islamic terms – the one that sticks out the most for me is Jihad. I didn’t enjoy this side of things all that much, but perhaps that is because I’m looking at the book from the modern perspective [absolutely nothing against the peaceful religion of Islam, but obviously, very against Jihad]. Perhaps for me I felt that this was an awful lot of cultural appropriation that could have simply been invented rather than stolen. I’m sure that there are going to be plenty of people out there that disagree with that sentiment, but that’s how I feel.

I completely failed to understand the Bene Gesseret [I’m not entirely sure I’ve spelt that right], nor the bringing of a messiah through Paul. But… it happened.

I found it hard to keep my focus on this one as well due to the way that it was written/constructed. There was a lot of shifts in time or shifts in events that weren’t clear that things had moved on until a few pages later. For instance, when Jessica and Paul are in the desert looking for the Freemen, I read it as though Jessica had fainted in their confrontation with Stilgar, but she hadn’t she was fighting him – but that wasn’t clear until we jump to Paul’s point of view of the action.

Also, in my copy – which was the 50th Anniversary edition – there were the square brackets that denoted editors notes [123] which obviously wasn’t exactly great as they were left in the book. Nothing brings you back to reality than something like that.

I did make it to the end of the book, and it was a struggle I can’t deny that. I did it because as I mentioned at the beginning of my blog, that this is one of the best selling scifi books ever. You can see the inspiration for other science fiction rooted in this one book – Star Wars being the biggest for sure, but other things like Tremors for instance.

After all this, am I likely to read the next one? No, not likely. I can respect that a lot of things are inspired by this book, but I’m not going to continue with the series. I’m happy I’ve read the first, but I’m not going to force my brain to read the rest.

Have you read this? What do you think?

Kialtho

Doodler Success!

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I’ve posted so many photo’s about this to my Instagram feed – I’ve absolutely loved remaking this, despite the fact that it came from my first ever knitting cock up (I felted the original, if you remember). I meant to write about it when I finished it, but forgot.

So I picked up the stitches from the original Doodler – this was the section from 3 and 4, so the final sections. I really wanted to avoid unravelling this section as I found it the most labour intensive section. I used a smaller sized needle and managed to get all but three of the stitches, which I then put on waste yarn until I was ready for them. Plus, the orange was Wollmeise to wanted to save absolutely everything if I could.

The plan was then to knit up sections one and two – the wing and the cable section – and then reattach that final section to the main body.img_2212

In the end I choose different yarns to the one I made originally made as I didn’t want a repeat of the felting. I’m sure that I can make something else with the remaining yarn that I have in the brand, but what, I’m not entirely sure.

The white and coloured section is a Cuddlebums yarn, “snowy rainbow” on a bamboo and merino blend. The blue is an Easyknits yarn called “Bigger on the Inside” – and then of course the orange Wollmeise to finish it off.

Everything worked out so well doing it. The knitting – excluding the massive yarn barf I had that took be around TWELVE HOURS to fix. No word of a lie, so much time spent sorting out that mess.

The bit that I love the most was when I was attaching the old to the new. I picked up the stitches along the edge, and per the first instruction in section 3. I then lined up the two pieces – having checked and double checked how to Kitchener stitch (I refresh my mind every time I do it, just to be on the safe side). Then the magic happened! It took a good few hours to attach both pieces completely, but it worked out so, so well! I put markers in every 50 stitches to make sure that I was working evenly.img_2211

What I like about this project is that I problem solved it myself. I think if this was me a couple of years ago, I perhaps I would have thrown the whole thing away and maybe cried about it. I solved this from the moment the problem occurred. And it worked out!

I’m definitely on a high from this project!

Have you got any success stories? Care to share?

Kialtho

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Book

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I read this a few weeks ago now. It’s pretty much a one sit wonder, which isn’t a surprise considering that it’s a screenplay. I just haven’t made my mind up how I feel about the book which is why this blog is a bit late in coming.

Here’s the synopsis from GoodReads:

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I think my problem with the book stems from the fact that I grew up reading an awful lot of fanfiction. I would spend a lot of time online reading them, the good and the bad… and this book definitely reads like some of the fanfiction I read. I wholly believe that seeing the play will be an entirely different experience to reading the book, and I’m super looking forward to seeing it next year, but perhaps the book could have been a book rather than a screenplay?

We’re introduced to Harry’s youngest son, Albus Severus, who just doesn’t fit in. Given his ridiculous name, and the fame of his dad, he’s got a lot to live up to. The other two kids seemed to do alright – although they are barely mentioned and perhaps needn’t have existed? James’ purpose was to bully Albus in the brief encounter we had with him, and I don’t recall Lilly around at all.

The main plot point deals with Albus and his identity – being a Slytherin, being friends with Scorpio [who was actually the best character in the story] – and them trying to be a hero by saving Cedric Diggory through some timey-whimey wibbly-wobbly magic. And a Time Turner.

I understand the kids motivation, and definitely enjoyed seeing some of the alternative histories – the one with Snape still alive was my favourite.

I don’t want spoil what happens for those that haven’t read it yet, but I just felt like something was missing from the book. It didn’t hold the same charm that the original stories did – which I suppose is to be expected. I’m older, and have had different experiences since I first picked up the magical series. I just think that the book itself could have been better.

I am looking forward to seeing the show, and I really hope that does justice to the wizarding world…

This is one of those ones where there’s so much that I want to say, but I’m having trouble articulating exactly what it is that I want to say…

Have you read this one? Up for some discussion?

Kialtho

OWL Mittens and a Rabbit

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Continuing on from yesterday’s blog, today I want to write about a couple of finished knitting projects. One was so minor it wasn’t worth taking a whole blog with it – that I didn’t get a great picture of it anyways, and the other was for a pair of mittens which – if I do say so myself – are awesome.

Let’s start with the mittens.
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I have a few great loves in my life, and it’s always awesome when they combine – this time it’s Harry Potter and knitting. A couple of years ago I got the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine sent to me by some lovely American friends. It’s full of Harry Potter goodness. This time I choose to make the mittens. One said has a parliament of owls, and the other has several spells – a great remember if you’re in a hurry and need a spell quickly perhaps. I knew as soon as I picked up the needles that these were going to be a gift for my best friend, especially considering the release of the Cursed Child happened around the same time.

These gloves were super easy to make. It felt like it took forever to get through the ribbing section, and I had quite a few false starts. When I looked up the yarn information online [instead of just using Ravelry – why didn’t I just go to Ravelry??] it listed the yarn as Sport weight. So I duly cast on using my sport weight yarn, thinking that it was too big. Went down a couple of needles sizes and tried again – same problem. THEN went to Ravelry to find out that actually, it’s a fingering weight yarn. So dug out through the stash again and decided on what I could use – I ended up with some Regia Fadig 4ply and some MadTosh – possibly the sock yarn version, possibly the vintage? I’m not sure as I don’t have the label any more and apparently I don’t keep as accurate project notes that list that sort of information.

Once I got started again these gloves went by swimmingly. I corrected the couple of spelling mistakes – Repairo became Reparo, Sonorous became Sonorus, and then Leviosa became Nox because I wanted to have the spells somewhat match rather than have a random Leviosa in there without the Wingardium bit first. It wasn’t hard to map out the changes – and I can sort of understand how the spelling mistakes got there in the first place, but a simple check of the HP Lexicon or wiki could have prevented it in the first place.

These were actually my first pair of mittens! I’ve made loads of fingerless gloves before, but these were the first pair of mittens.

The second project was a quick and easy one. Using the Alpaca Highland fino from the original Doodler project before it felted, I made a bunny. It’s a simple knitted square, sewn in a particular way to create the dimensions of a rabbit – stuff and sew and done! I made this for Artie as he kept attacking the yarn and trying to run away with it when I was making the Doodler – I assumed it was because of the sheep/alpaca smells, but now I think he’s just a yarn thief as he’s trying to do it with my current project as well.
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Things still to come: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child [book] review, 1984 [play] and probably more knitting stuff.

What’s on your needles? Hook?

Kialtho

Doodler Progress, of sorts

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I have a few blogs to write, and I’ve been neglecting them. I’ve been keeping a list of what I want to write about – Cursed Child, for instance – and some knitting projects that I’ve completed. Today, though rather than talking about the completed projects I want to write about a project that I’m working on at the moment. And more specifically, the yarn.

As you may remember from my last blog regarding my knitting projects, I had made a Doodler, that sadly felted in the wash. I had decided that I was going to save the orange section by picking up all the stitches that connected it to the main body, then reknit the original body with the same yarn as before. But after speaking with my mum – who is also the recipient of the shawl – we decided on a different yarn to help prevent this from happening again.

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Or at least, it was. Until I had a yarn barf that about about half the size of the cake.

It took around about 12 hours to sort out the entire tangle. The picture shown doesn’t portray at how bad it really was – there was another nest to come out after that little lot. Naturally, this happened at 10pm so I spent a good four hours trying to sort it out the first night. But, I was victorious over this mess! The ball is now a part centre pull ball, and the rather large barf is wrapped around the outside – I don’t even know that the name for that would be.
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As it stands I’m on wedge 15 of the 17 required, and it’s going super well. I’m very much in love with this, and could be tempted to make myself a second one in the other skein of this yarn I have. It’s so squishy and bouncy and huggable. [It’s a Cuddlebums yarn, “Snowy Rainbow” in a merino/bamboo mix, I believe].

Here’s a picture of Artie enjoying the felted mess, once it had been cut away from the rest of the project.
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I’ve seen that Stephen West is launching the fall MKAL to start in October… I’ve queued the project, but I’m not sure yet whether it’s one I’ll join. The Doodler was one of the few patterns that I really liked of his. At least, if I do decide to do it, I have a fair amount of sport weight yarn in my stash!

I will write about my other projects and the things that I need to write about over the coming few days – but will schedule the updates so it’s not so spammy.

The Girl in the Box Series, Books 1-3: Alone, Untouched, Soulless – Robert J. Crane

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This was offered in a trilogy as an introduction to the series on Amazon for free a while back – a quick check shows that these first three books are indeed still free. I downloaded them because the synopsis sounded like something that I would enjoy, and free, so why not?

Synopsis:

This is a collection of the first three titles in The Girl in the Box Series, which are about a teenage girl who develops powers far beyond those of a normal human, and her battles against those who would use her against her will. (Approx. 185,000 words total.).

Alone – Sienna Nealon was a 17 year-old girl who had been held prisoner in her own house by her mother for twelve years. Then one day her mother vanished, and Sienna woke up to find two strange men in her home. On the run, unsure of who to turn to and discovering she possesses mysterious powers, Sienna finds herself pursued by a shadowy agency known as the Directorate and hunted by a vicious, bloodthirsty psychopath named Wolfe, each of which is determined to capture her for their own purposes…

Untouched – Still haunted by her last encounter with Wolfe and searching for her mother, Sienna Nealon must put aside her personal struggles when a new threat emerges – Aleksandr Gavrikov, a metahuman so powerful, he could destroy entire cities – and he’s focused on bringing the Directorate to its knees.

Soulless – After six months of intense training with the Directorate, Sienna Nealon finds herself on her first assignment – tracking a dangerous meta across the upper midwest. With Scott Byerly and Kat Forrest at her side, she’ll face new enemies and receive help from unlikely allies as she stumbles across the truth behind the shadowy organization known only as Omega.

So we have three books. My initial thought after finishing that last one was really, they could have been condensed into one book. A quick check of the authors webpage reveals to me something that I thought was fairly evident during my initial read of the books: the author is self published. For me the clue here wasn’t just the writing, but the need to add in how many words were in the first three volumes. Why is that necessary? And also, for three books, that’s not a lot of words.

These books are more like novella.

Of course, being self published isn’t a bad thing at all, and fair play if it’s something that you can make work for you, but there’s the lack of refinement that comes with reading something that’s gone through the hoops at a publishing house.

I want to touch briefly on each of the books.

Alone – we’re introduced to Sienna, a girl that’s been left at home by her mother. Her mother hasn’t been seen for about a week, and Sienna isn’t allowed to leave the house. Ever. Or there’ll be punishment [a box/coffin type imprisonment]. Her mother is abusive – there’s no other way to put it – but that doesn’t stop Sienna wanting to find the only person she’s ever known. There are strangers in her house, so she opens some kick ass martial arts, and goes on the run.

This book felt very one dimensional. It was essentially Sienna vs Wolfe – a super strong metahuman that wants to capture Sienna. No one knows why, and she gets taken away by those shady agents that turn out, maybe, to not have been quite so shady.

I actually kept forgetting that Sienna was called that, her name is uttered so infrequently.

Untouched – in this one there is slightly more going on than Sienna vs Wolfe – we have to start dealing with consequences. Well, sort of. Maybe not. The author tries to sort out what happens when Sienna’s mutant/Rogue powers are in effect, but then ends up having her drugged rather than really deal with it. We have a new threat, again wanting to take out Sienna, but only because she’s in the way this time. There’s a lot of death and destruction, but no real, tangible way to deal with the consequences of the actions that our characters take.

Again, a lot of the other characters like Zack, for instance, feel extremely one dimensional. They don’t have a lot going for them. Human, beat up, boyfriend etc. There’s not a lot of character development, or development to make you want to care for these characters.

Soulless – In this one, I do think the writing improves a bit. There’s more storyline, there’s more development and characters, and finally some progress on the longer story arc. But it was very predictable. We see chapters from the POV of “someone else” that I felt was quite obvious who that person was. We also see how easy it is to manipulate Sienna through her aunt Charlie, and a guy called James. I won’t put in spoilers as it’s not fair if you intend to read the series.

So… would I read the rest of the series? No. Well, I wouldn’t pay for them, that’s for sure. At times I did feel like I was reading some X-Men fanfiction, and at other times I thought that it was ridiculous. This is one of those series that you would enjoy if you liked to have lots of action scenes, and not a lot of consequences – for example – girl spends years trapped in her home, not able to leave, not able to have friends, her mother the only company she ever has. Her mother trains her in martial arts, schools her, beats her up a fair bit too. If Sienna disobeys the “rules” she gets put in a metal box, sometimes for a week, without being let out. She doesn’t come out of that damaged – and that would damage someone that would need years of therapy to get over. Nope. We have no consequences to that sort of thing.

These are good if you want a light read that requires not a lot of effort in the long run. I’ll leave the series here though.

Have you read this series? What did you think?

Kialtho

Doodler, Doodler…

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*sigh* I’ve been putting off writing this blog for a couple of days. It should have been filled with the awesome high of finishing a project – which I did finish and feel the high on – but in reality it went downhill not long after. Mainly because I’m an idiot.
IMG_2129
I finished my second Doodler. It looked amazing. The colours, the drape, how it all worked together! I sewed in the ends – didn’t cut them though – I do that after the blocking stage – and put it in the wash.

And that’s where I went wrong.

The yarn did specify hand wash only, but my machine has a “wool wash” that basically soaks the item, turning it once every 5-10 minutes or so – and only once. So essentially, a hand wash. I put it on a cold wash as well, so nothing should have gone wrong, right?

Can you see where this is going?

IT FELTED! IMG_2130

Nothing destroys the high of finishing a project that’s taken about 6 weeks to do, that putting it in for those finishing touches and ruining it completely.

The thing is, I don’t think it would have done either. But, in my haste and perhaps that finishing high, I put the washing machine on the wrong setting. The dial was one click away from being the wash that I needed. It went on a silk/cashmere wash – you wouldn’t think that there’s much difference, would you? But there is. Time, for one – you would have thought that I would have noticed that, but it was 3 minutes difference.

No. I think the washing machine agitated the product too much, so instead of simply soaking, it spun. I also didn’t let the machine cool down from the previous load [it’s a washer dryer, the last load had been dried].

BUT!

I have a plan.

Only the blue and white section felted, so the plan is to remake that bit. Then pick up the 300 stitches for the orange, then go back to the original and cut away the felted bit, pick up the corresponding 300 stitches and graft them together with either Kitchener Stitch – magical, magical (long winded) stitch, or use a three needle bind off to seam the two products together.

By doing it this way I don’t have to sacrifice all those weeks of work – just a few – and save the Wollmeise segment – and my mum can still have an awesome shawl for when winter comes.

On the plus side, this has been my first mistake like this in the 4 and a half years that I’ve been knitting, so I can’t really argue or be angry about that, I just feel a bit like an idiot more than anything. I wanted it blocking so that I could give it to my mum the next day when we were meeting after work.

If anyone has any advice or suggestions for this, that would be great!

I’ll write a blog once I’ve conducted the reconstruction and repair… but first, I’m going to make some mittens. I’d like some gratification back. I will also knit a test square and wash that on the wash that I know usually works fine just to be doubly sure before I hand the new finished item over. But first, mittens.

Feel sorry for me, (or not, maybe)

Kialtho