Know Why The Nightingale Sings

It’s taken about six weeks but may I present to you my Nightingale Socks! This is one of those patterns that I discovered quite early on that thought I would never be able to make. It’s been in my Ravelry queue for such a long time. I’ve had the yarn available for a long time as well. You may [or may not] remember that I made the Water for the Elephant socks a while back, and it hit me quite recently… why couldn’t I make this pattern? I’m not sure what put me off committing to it, but I decided to take the plunge and viola! Here they are!


Because they’re so long it did seem to take a while to finish one, but even so at three weeks per sock that’s not too bad going. Incidentally, my next project is in chunky yarn and already the difference in how quickly the project has grown seems insane.

I have a couple of niggles with how I finished the project though. I didn’t realise when I bought the yarn how dark the dark sections are, so they blend in with the the dark background colour a little too well. If I happened to make them again – I have enough of the Noro to do so – then I would go for a white background colour instead. The background colour is Regia fading 4ply.

I also need to work on the carrying tension when switching between the colours, in some places this seems just a little too tight. But then, that’s not unusual for me, no matter how hard I try to ease the tension!

Anyway, over all I’m happy with the outcome, especially considering it’s a project I’ve been wanting to make in a long time!

What’s on your needles at the moment?


Whispers Underground – Ben Aaronovitch

Whispers Underground – Ben Aaronovitch

In this third instalment of the Peter Grant detective come magician series we are introduced to some strange going ons in the Underground, ghosts and the Faceless Man.


It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects . . . except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.

At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful . . . and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well

This was a good instalment in the series. Now that we’re more comfortable with the characters, and Aaronovitch’s writing style – comedic, a bit dry, and quite well flowing – it is easier to get into the book. I read the first half quite quickly, but that tapered off towards the end, not because it wasn’t interesting, but more because life got in the way.

Once you start reading it’s easy to remember what has happened in the previous two books, in some instances you don’t get a chance to forget. For instance overtime we’re with Lesley there is always a reference to her disfigured face and her need for a complete face mask – it’s not always necessary to reference this, and it does annoy me that authors do spoon feed their readers in this way. We have imaginations. And memories, that should be enough, no?

From the synopsis I thought that there would be more involvement with the FBI. Agent Reynolds is almost a character for convenience, turning up every now and again to get in the way rather than being a constructive character that actually either helps or hinders. It’s like the author introduced her simply because his main victim was an American. I don’t remember reading anything about her being a Christian.

The Underground goings on was more interesting; I’ve always been interested in the Underground network and would love to see some abandoned stations. The idea of people living underground is fascinating. Whether it’s in a survival manner such as Metro 33, or like the Steampunk-esque people in Jeter’s “Morlock Night” it’s a curiosity to wonder how people would actually be able to survive.

This particular book had a couple of jumping around in the plot threads from previous books. The River Gods/Goddesses I find are the hardest bit to understand within the story. My eyes tend to gloss over those bits as I don’t really understand them and where they’re going. Introducing other species and different types of magic was a nice touch to keep things moving along and to not make the story become stale.

I love the references to Harry Potter. And there was even a Star Trek: Next Gen reference as well that made all warm and happy inside!

Have you read this book? What do you think of this series?


Pines – Blake Crouch

Since I found out that the TV series “Wayward Pines” was based on a book series I’ve wanted to read the books as the series was just so good! So here it is, my thoughts on the first book, called “Pines”.


Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a clear mission: locate and recover two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He comes to in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into the disappearance of his colleagues turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he get any phone calls through to his wife and son in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what is the purpose of the electrified fences surrounding the town? Are they meant to keep the residents in? Or something else out? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the world he thought he knew, from the man he thought he was, until he must face a horrifying fact—he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.

If you haven’t read this book, and intend to, I would stop reading this blog entry now! I can’t guarantee that it will be spoiler free.

This is one of those books that could probably be read in one sitting, especially if it grips you from the beginning. I think I read it in three, because, you know, life got in the way.

We are introduced to Ethan Burke, our main character who has no memory of who he is, lost on the outskirts of Wayward Pines and injured beyond belief.

Wayward Pines is a beautiful and idyllic small town in Idaho. The people are welcoming, the hospital induces a fear like none other, and there’s just something… something that isn’t quite right. After stumbling around the Pines for a short while, the memory of Burkes injuries come flooding back. Car accident. Mack. Partner. Black out.

Nurse Pam is a sadist. She certainly loves her needles! And, I shall add that she was perfectly cast in the TV series as well.

I enjoyed how the actual story played out, from the waking up and beginning to remember through to the final revelation of what the heck was going on. About 2/3rds of the way through we find out that there’s definitely something dodgy going on outside the town, and perhaps it’s not a prison to keep people in, but a safe haven to keep something out. The way that Burke is handed his new position at the end of the book was a bit… sinister, but it was good to see the differences between the book and the TV series.

I think the one thing that annoyed me the most through the book though was the amount of body breaking exercise that Burke is put through. From the waking up and having broken ribs, to the running around the hospital, then again naked out in the streets [and not the only time he gets all naked either!]. Running through the forest… climbing clifftops, and through cramped air vents… and he doesn’t really seem to suffer from the after effects, except maybe once is it really described as a problem. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad, except the events of the book cover only about five or six days, so…. this was my bit of suspended disbelief.

I look forwards to reading the next one, and hopefully being introduced to more of the characters of Wayward Pines. This was essentially a one man show, with a couple of others thrown in to make life tough.

What are you reading at the moment?

The 100 – Kass Morgan

A ravaged Earth devoid of human life, suffering after the “cataclysm”. The last of the human race surviving on an ageing space craft, rife with rivalries and the divide between those who have, and those who do not. And a plan to get back to Earth.



Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents – considered expendable by society – are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life… or it could be a suicide mission.

Clark was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did. Wells, the chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves – but will she ever forgive him? Reckless Bellamy fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And Glass managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope

Before I begin talking about this book I want to mention that I haven’t seen the TV series yet, but the TV series is the reason why I decided to read the book. It looks good. It’s a shame that I cannot say the same thing about the book, which to be honest genuinely takes first place of worst books I have read in the last few years, which is frustrating as I really, really wanted to like and enjoy this book! Typically, I don’t like giving bad reviews of books because… someone’s time and effort went into it, but… not this time. Sorry Kass Morgan…

We begin with Clarke, Confine, moody teenager awaiting her 18th birthday, and sure fire execution. Clarke is sullen, filled with hate at her situation. As the story progresses, and the same with each character that we are subsequently introduced to, we get bits of their histories thrown in to tell us how each character has ended up in their current positions.

There are four main characters, Clarke, Glass, Wells and Bellamy. Clarke, Glass and Wells all come from the posh, rich side of the ship. The side that has society, functions and apparently a lot of rule breakers that go unpunished. Bellamy is not only from Walden, the poorest sector of the ship, but also a Sibling. Siblings are rare due to strict population controls, and as such sees himself as the absolute care taker of his sister. Bellamy is also naive. And very annoying, but at least not so much as the other characters.

Glass was supposed to go to Earth with the other 100, but managed to escape the transport ship whilst Bellamy snuck on in not such a discrete way. Glass is the first person to get away with her crimes and be “pardoned” in a very long time. Glass is pretty one dimensional and focused on one thing: Her Walden boyfriend Luke. I think.

Clarke loved Wells. Wells ratted out Clarkes parents. Clarke hates Wells. Except that she does still love him. Except that she doesn’t.

This book was genuinely erring on the side of ridiculous. I think that it was written in a very formulaic YA/Dystopian manner and what’s more, it’s a weak story. This is the sort of storyline that has the ability to be amazing but the story telling fell far short of the potential. I like to be able to connect with my characters, not spend a whole book literally not caring what happened to them at all.

I need to briefly mention the ending as well: typical YA ending of a cliff hanger, but given the plot as described above… it wasn’t exactly a surprising twist, or even original.

I seriously hope that the TV series is better than this because I’ve been wanting to watch it for some time!

Have you read this book? What did you think? Can you convince me to even like it?


Kitty hat, Sackboy and a Lupin’s Scarf

I haven’t posted a knitting update for a while, but fear not! I have been busy, and I have a couple of projects to share with you.

Firstly, I want to share a Sackboy! This is for my brother. I held some chunky Sidar click double with some King Cole DK Shine [it could also be called Dazzle?]. Whilst I liked the effect of the fabric, I forgot how awkward holding yarn together is… which is ridiculous when it comes to talking about my next project, which started life a while ago as a DK-held together type project.

I’m quite happy with Sackboy, I love that he’s doing a pose from the game, even if it was unintentional, and his smile doesn’t look *too* creepy here. I think if I were to change anything I would consider giving him some bigger eyes… maybe. I hope my brother likes him :)
I started the Lupin Scarf sometime last year, but didn’t like how the first one turned out, and it really wasn’t good enough to give away. This is much better; it’s made from Aran weight soft and silky, and used nearly the whole skein. The remainder when on making a kitty hat! This is a lovely brand to use, this particular skein did have a lot of fluff on it though! The colour of this picture doesn’t really do it justice – it’s a red that I can’t really describe, but it’s a red that everyone that’s seen the yarn has commented on at some point about it’s depth. Maybe a ruby red could be one way of describing it!
IMG_1409 IMG_1411
The story behind this scarf is thus: my friend was admitted to hospital a year ago to have some emergency  surgery on his back so I said I would make a him a scarf… it’s only a year later but I finally managed to make good on this promise. I just hope he likes it! [I do believe I also promised some sort of cheesecake… so ought to make good on that too].

This is the kitty hat I mentioned. It’s exactly the same yarn as the Lupin Scarf, but as you can see even a slightly different light can change how the red looks! I’m not quite sure why I made the hat, but why not, eh?
I’ve sort of made a decision on my next project as well, so the needles won’t be bare for long! I’m thinking the Nightingale Socks…. I’ve been putting them off for a very long time!

What’s on your needles at the moment?


Welcome to the Pines?

Have you been to the Pines? Where Paradise is Home.

I don’t typically write about films or TV shows, although there have been times when I have when a production has particularly made me want to write about it. The same can be said about Wayward Pines, a creepy little village where nothing is quite as it seems and everyone is under surveillance.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan we are introduced to a CIA agent with a history of adultery and failed cases. Or at least on failed case that impacts his every move from then on in. His name is Ethan Burke, with a wife, Theresa, and son, Ben. They play happy families until Ethan is sent to investigate a series of disappearances including two other CIA agents, leading him ultimately to the secluded township of Wayward Pines. Along the way he has an accident and ends up in the hospital with no wallet, no phone and no real way to contact the outside world. There’s a strange, ice cream obsessed Sheriff out to get him and a rotting body in an abandoned house. Oh, and his former CIA partner with whom he had the affair.

All is not well in the Pines. And just why can’t anyone leave?

I watched the first two episodes of this series a couple of weeks back, having recorded it on the DVR. Sometimes, with new things, it takes me a long time to get around to watching/doing them, and I think I delayed with this one as I didn’t want to be freaked out/disappointed. I thought I would give a couple of episodes a go, and see if I had any weird dreams [weird dreams about a TV series usually puts me off]. All was good, and on Friday I binge watched the remainder. At only 10 episodes, it’s not really a great deal of time.

Also: I just WANT TO KNOW what was going on.

Being as though the director was Shyamalan there was going to be some sort of twist, and that happened at around the 5th episode. And I tell you, it’s not what I was expecting. Even after the big reveal, I was still expecting something else, like SURPRISE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT. Shyalaman pulled it off nicely, and certainly kept the guessing game through until the end. And the ending!

As I’ve searched around the internet for more information about this series – such as the fact that it was based on a book trilogy [duly downloaded part one] I see that the thing that angers most people about the whole series is the very ending. I don’t want to spoil it at all, so I won’t say anything except that fact that I liked it. This, at it’s heart, is a dystopian tale, and keeping alongside traditional dystopian ideals… we’re not quite granted our ending as we would have liked. This makes me love the series even more, and wonder if even they could make a second one. I don’t think it’s likely to be honest, but there’s plenty of room to play with there. Maybe a secret society, rebels and the such like.

If you want to be creeped out a bit, want questions after questions and a what the hell kind of story, I would definitely recommend this. I believe all the lose ends are tied up and the story made sense once we know what’s going on…  I would recommend.

Have you seen this series? What did you think?


The Wind Singer – William Nicholson

This is a book that I first read around the same time that Harry Potter opened up a world of reading for me. I read before I discovered the Harry Potter series [even, would you believe at the ripe old age of 11 reading things like Stephen King], but it is a series that I can definitely say kick started my reading. Harry Potter that is, I probably didn’t fully understand the Stephen King at that age!


In the city of Aramanth, the mantra is, “Better today than yesterday. Better tomorrow than today.” Harder work means the citizens of Aramanth can keep moving forward to improved life stations–from Gray tenements and Orange apartments, upwards to glorious mansions of White. Only some families, like the Haths, believe more in ideas and dreams than in endless toil and ratings. When Kestrel Hath decides she is through with the Aramanth work ethic, she is joined in her small rebellion by her twin brother Bowman and their friend Mumpo. Together, they set the orderly city on its ear by escaping Aramanth’s walls for an adventure that takes them from city sewers to desert sandstorms. Guided by an archaic map, they know that if they can find the voice of the Wind Singer, an ancient and mysterious instrument that stands in the center of Aramanth, they can save their people from their dreamless existence. But the voice is guarded by the dreaded Morah and its legion of perfect killing machines, the Zars. Are three ragtag kids any match for an army of darkness?

As I’ve grown up I’ve often thought about this book. There’s just something about it that has stuck with me. One of the scenes during the climax of the book is one of the main characters staring into the eyes of the big bad, the Morah, and staring into and endless amount of eyes, and the feeling of never being alone. Looking back, and looking at other fandoms, it sort of reminds me of the Borg from Star Trek, with the hive mind controlled by the Borg Queen.

First and foremost, this is a children’s book. The writing and the storyline is fairly simple: the system is oppressive, the system is frustrating, the system needs to be challenged. Said children challenge system and are given a task that would resolve everyone’s problems with a magical talisman.

Even though it’s a fairly simple story, there are a few complex and unanswered questions. The one that baffled me the most was that I couldn’t place a time frame on the story. There was stuff that I thought could be set in an ancient time, but then the Ombaraka and Omchaka and their rolling cities, and some of the tech that we encountered through the main characters suggested otherwise.

The characters of Kestrel and Bowman were okay at best. Kestrel was more annoying that Bo, but also had most of the focus. This was more her fight that Bo’s, he came along to support his sister, because he wasn’t going to let her be in trouble on her own. And he believed in her. Their relationship was a little on the strange side.I couldn’t tell if the author was genuine in their brotherly/sisterly love or if he secretly shipped them, despite his trying to force the love of Mumpo onto Kestrel throughout the whole book.

I think the most fascinating part of the story in that it was also the most terrifying as it plays on the basic fears of most people, even if they don’t know it was that of the old children. These children who had had their lives literally sucked out of them and made them into old people, who would in turn suck the life out of other children. There’s nothing more scary than growing up, especially when it’s forced on you like it is in this book.

I wanted to recapture how I felt when I read this the first time. But I didn’t, and that in all reality is because I’m older now, and read slightly more complex books, even if they are sometimes children’s books! Despite this I am glad that I read this book again as I was able to reconnect to a world that I had largely forgotten about except for that one really outstanding vision that has stayed with me from a young age.

What are you reading at the moment? At this point in time I cannot decide what to pick up next… any ideas? There’s plenty to choose from on my GoodReads shelves but decisions decisions!!

Thanks for reading,