The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

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Okay, okay I know I am bit late to the party with this book, I mean it was all hype when it was released however many years ago. I’ve had it on my bookshelf to read for a long time, and the only reason I did actually get around to reading it was because my niece lent me the book thinking it would be something that I would enjoy. (I’ve been lending her loads of my books, so she lent me something back in return which I thought was really, really sweet).

Fun fact: way back when I first decided I was going to read this I got it confused with Gone Girl. So I ended up reading and watching the films in the wrong order and wondered how they related to each other. I sort of enjoyed the film for The Girl on the Train, and had no problems with the plot of the book being known considering that fact.

Here’s the synopsis:

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

No what I liked about the book, and obviously what I didn’t realise about the film, is that it’s set in the UK, on a commuter line into London. It makes it more relatable in a way to where and what you’re reading (the other book that has done this for me was a book called ‘The End of Mr Y’ or something like that which was set in Canterbury where I went to university. Talk about being able to picture the setting!).

The thing about this book that strikes me the most is that I didn’t particularly like it, nor any of the characters that are in it. All the men are controlling, narcissistic types that have no trouble raising a hand to their woman. All the women were defined by the men in their lives and what had happened as a result, e.g. Rachel’s descent into alcoholism, Meghan and her past AND her present and the choices that she makes that we’re supposed to see aren’t really hers, or Anna being defined by being a mother, and not much more. Now, I get how these characters are affected by the men in their lives, but also, I don’t understand how they didn’t define themselves and move onward from them.

Or maybe, that’s just me.

Rachel gets the train everyday pretending to go to work so that her flatmate wouldn’t suspect that she’s lost her job, and the plot. Everyday the train stops by her old house and she spies on the neighbours who she thinks has it all and are the most perfect of perfect types. Obviously, when she sees the woman, Meghan, kissing another man her illusions are shattered, more so when it’s revealed that she goes missing that same (or was it the next?) night. She decides that she needs to tell the police that this woman was having an affair, and complicates the whole investigation by Jessica Fletcher-ing her way into the investigation.

Rachel has problems. She can’t let go of her ex husband, who cheated on her, and left her for his mistress. Rachel is a drunk (I don’t really like reading about drunks which is perhaps why I struggled to find any empathy for her). She drinks on the train, she causes havoc for her ex husbands new family and doesn’t really know how to control herself. It does become clear though, that Rachel is the linchpin of the whole operation, and perhaps without her the events that occur may not have happened. (For me this raises a more philosophical question in and around our day to day lives, if we don’t do something at a certain time, how will the rest of the world be affected? Small actions, or inactions, can lead to big consequences. I guess it’s a bit like the butterfly that flaps it’s wings in one part of the world could cause a hurricane in another).

Meghan was a liar and a cheat from the beginning, and although went through some traumatic experiences in her past could have dealt with them better. If she had been honest with herself she may not have ended up dead in the wood.

Anna…. I think out of all the characters I found Anna to be the least likeable. I couldn’t really pin my understanding of the dislike I had for the woman until much later on in the book and I think it came down to this: She’s an idiot. When you get with a man, that involves an affair with him already being married, when you lie and cheat and game yourself into that relationship – which they clearly did together – how can then you think that your husband is an honest man? Besides, being promoted to Wife meant the Mistress job was available. (Now, I’m sure there are many relationships that start this way in the real world, but I would never be able to trust my respective partner knowing that’s how our relationship started. You know? Maybe it’s just me. Or maybe it’s just how it’s portrayed in this book. I don’t know here). Also, I didn’t really trust her maternal instincts on protecting her daughter during the climax at the end. It didn’t seem real enough.

There aren’t a lot of other characters in this book. The two husbands, Rachel’s flatmate, a few extra characters that add nothing to the book. I like to think that the ending was obvious, but as I mentioned at the top I saw the film before I read the book so couldn’t really say whether I saw it coming or not.

Do I regret picking up the book? Not especially, but it’s one that can now be ticked off my TBR pile. Next up is Blake Crouches’ finally to the Wayward Pines series. Then Children of Ruin which is going to be my by the pool reading when I get to Egypt next week.

What are you reading at the moment?

Kialtho

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Muse of Nightmares – Strange the Dreamer #2 – Laini Taylor

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I realise that I finished this book a few weeks ago but it’s taken some time to sink into my head and for me to really appreciate it. I loved reading it. I shall try to ensure I don’t include any spoilers, so without further adieu here’s the synopsis:

Synopsis:

Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old.
She believed she knew every horror, and was beyond surprise.
She was wrong.

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice–save the woman he loves, or everyone else?–while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

What I loved about Strange the Dreamer, the first one, was the attention to detail, the beauty of the world and the intrigue around blue people with magical powers, a city in the shadow of a metal angel and the perils of the people in the city below. I loved that in this one, we pick up in that same story, with so many revelations around what happened at the end of the first book and how they are going to be dealt with – Lazlo, Sarai, Minya and all the others had a lot of story and heartache to be resolved.

I finished reading this probably about 3 weeks ago so I’m not really sure where to start. Maybe throwing a few characters out there for discussion? Yeah that sounds good.

I’m going to start with Minya, which may not be the obvious choice considering the main characters are Lazlo and Sarai, but Minya probably had the most character development. In this second book we are enlightened to some of her past, of why she is the way that she is and what her gift is, and just how string she really is. Minya, at the age of 6 held the world on her shoulders, committed acts of great violence and shouldered the burden of bring up 4 babies by her self. Literally, by herself. She saved the ghosts of the Ellen’s which admittedly did the caring but only in a way that meant that Minya sacrificed her soul.

We were introduced to a new character in this book, a new and more terrifying Big Bad than what we had seen before. A woman so concerned with one task, and vengeance, that all else was forgotten to her. A rubbish start in the beginning of her life, the tearing apart of her sister and the lengths she went to in order to find and avenge her sister were nothing short of immense. You have to admire the strength of it, even if it did come off a little one dimensional towards the end.

Sarai died at the end (and I suppose the beginning) of the first book. She spends her time in this one as a ghost under Minya’s thrall, but it is what she does there that allows her character to grow. I loved that she knew what she wanted to do by the end and how she would try and help those like her who had suffered the worst of fates. I liked that she still had a gift to use, and that it evolved into something different with her death – and also that it could still be manipulated away from her.

Lazlo was a pretty badass character, but he was definitely shoved to the background in light of Sarai and her story. This book was definitely Sarai’s story, whereas the first book was Lazlo’s story. Lazlo suffered a lot in the book as well, but for a variety of different reasons.

Many of the other characters faded into the background but had potential for more when or if Laini Taylor writes more in this universe, even if she doesn’t write about these specific characters again.

I loved these two books, and I would very much like to have more from the author in this universe.

I have since started The Girl on the Train…. which I am not making much progress with. What are you reading at the moment?

Kialtho

Baby Sophisticate and Summer Skies Hat

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Over the last month I have two finished objects to share with you all – that’s pretty exciting right? I didn’t feel the need to blog straight after the first project as it was only a small thing, but it was the Summer Skies hat. I originally planned this to be a hat for my six year old niece, however, it came out far too small so I offered it out on my Facebook page for someone to claim.

For this one I used King Cole Riot in DK weight, and it’s a really lovely yarn to use. It’s soft – softer than most of the acrylics I use (I think there maybe some wool content too) and the colours are lovely. I used it for a project late last year for a Christmas present and loved the colour vibrancy and the frequency of the changes (not too long, not too short).

The downside to this project, and I’m not sure why but I think it was the combination of yarn and needles, but I got repetitive strain injury making this! How ridiculous is that?

The second is Baby Sophisticate which I sort of stumbled across on Ravelry and decided I would also make for the person who claimed the hat. Of course, knitting was reduced because of the RSI. It should have only taken a few days from beginning to end however it has taken around about two weeks (because of the injury). I used my Chiagoo on this one as well as the hat, and am wondering whether the needles just aren’t suited to my knitting style, or perhaps the size of my hands? (My hands are relatively small?)

I used Hayfield Bonus on this one. It’s a hardy yarn that holds up well to washing and abuse, so should be good for a baby project. This particular colourway is a tweedy one so a bit coarser than most, but a few washes should soften it up a bit.

I think that’s it for knitting updates for now; time to decide what to make next!

Kialtho

Campside Cardi

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Well, it feels like it’s been a long time coming but I finally have a new Finished Object to share!

According to Ravelry, it has taken me 49 days to make this item. Is that a long time? My bigger projects tend to average out at about 6 weeks, so I guess this fits in with that. It’s been a good make, and to be fair probably wouldn’t have taken me quite a so long except for that thing called ‘real life’ taking forefront as helping my daddy through a bit of a rough time that saw him hospitalised with a serious spinal infection (luckily, he’s on the mend now and is at home in recovery. He’s not used to being so… still? He’s usually working hard and spending time riding his motorbike!).

I used Stylecraft Special DK for this one. I think had I had better resources/money I would have gone for a wool blend yarn but more than anything I wanted to get knitting and this is a good decent yarn. I choose a teal like colour as I wanted something ‘different’… except when I came home I realised I’ve already made jumpers and what not in similar shades, so perhaps not all that different after all.

The pattern is called ‘Campside Cardi’ and is available on Ravelry. I’m not quite sure how I came across, probably in the Hot Right Now section, but as soon as I saw it I wanted to make it. I like that about patterns, the ones you just have to make, you know?

There isn’t much to say about the pattern itself. It’s super simple to understand, not very long as it doesn’t need to be. You work top down, and the sleeve stitches on hold until it comes to making the sleeves, which are then also made top down. (I should have done a separate gauge swatch for the sleeves at the tension is notably different – in my eyes – and they are a little tight if I am honest). This was the first time I have made sleeves top down to be fair, I’ve always had patterns that start at the cuff.

I enjoyed this make. It was what I needed at this point in my life with everything else going on. Time for something more complex perhaps?

Oh, and did you see that super pretty pattern that Stephen West released that looks just like a knitted ‘Starry Skies’ by Van Gogh? I definitely will be making that in the future.

…. and being as though we’re catching up on some knitting related stuff here, check out this super pretty yarns I got from ‘Handmade Studios’ after a random road trip towards the Portsmouth area.

And this one which I ordered from Mothy and Squid, for which my photo doesn’t do it any justice at all!

That’s all for now, let’s see if I can find a new project to cast on this evening!

Kialtho

2019 Knitting

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The Bee Queen

When I first saw this pattern it seems like an age ago (I think a couple of years now) but it was being offered for free, with a coupon. There were a couple, in a series, all bee themed. I really fell in love with them, and got the pair of them. It’s been a long time coming in terms of me actually making it because I have a hard time deciding what yarns to use. I also wanted to use some stash yarn rather than get some new skeins (because, why not? I have enough!). In the end I choose blue and red. Even as I was making I wasn’t sure if the colour combination was right. I’m not sure – what do you think?

The red is from easyknits.co.uk called ‘Command Red,’ and the blue is from The Uncommon Thread. I’m not sure on the name of it though?

Here is some of the finished photo’s.

This project wasn’t without it challenges though. The first red lace section I tried to do all knit rather than in stocking stitch like it should have been. And then there were the issues I was having around the stitch counts, which also turned out to be non issues. I had decided to increase the length of the shawl. In order to do this, the rows had to be repeated an extra six times per how many times you wished to increase it by… if that makes sense. I decided to complete an extra 3 times which gave me an extra 54 stitches. So I then had to take that into account when I was looking at overall stitch counts and for the final lace section. I think overall it worked out fine.

Usually I give shawls like this one away as I don’t typically wear this shape shawl. It’s a nice, long crescent shape, with a nice drape to it too. It needed quite an aggressive blocking to get the most out of it. I can’t remember what the wingspan was to be honest but it wraps nicely around my neck and drapes down a bit each side too.

Would I make it again? I’m not entirely sure if I’m honest. As I said I found it hard to concentrate on, and definitely made more than a few mistakes as I went through making it. But I am happy with the final result so there’s that.

My next project was really quick a simple as well. There is a story behind it that stems from work and because fundamentally I’m quite a nice person (is it egotistical to describe yourself like that?). Basically there’s a guy that comes into my place of work (I am in forecourt retailing) who has arthritis and has bent over fingers. He was saying that he had really cold hands, but when I asked where his gloved were he didn’t have any! His zimmer frame was cold also, so I knew that I needed to sort it out. I made him some simple glove that were fingerless and quite chunky (aran weight yarn held double) so that he could either fold down the top of the gloves or wear them full length. He wears them every time he comes into the garage now, and he had the biggest grin on his face when I gave them to him! It’s so heart warming to be honest, and even though I didn’t do it for the recognition from work they were really sweet about it too.

Lastly I have this crochet baby blanket. I used Caron Simply Soft which is something that I hadn’t used before, and just went and went until I ran out. It’s not a huge blanket, it will probably do for a car seat or a buggy or something. It’s not the best thing I’ve made because crochet isn’t my strongest skill but I’m happy with the outcome. I love the contrast between the colours as well. This will be sent to the USA as a gift for a friend over there.

I’ve already got my next project already on the needles, and that will be a garment for me. Here’s hoping that this goes well! What’s on your needles?

Kialtho

Potency (Glow #1) – Aubrey Hadley

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I received an ARC version of this book from NetGalley in response for a fair and honest review. Haven’t heard of NetGalley? Check them out here: https://www.netgalley.com/

I must confess I don’t browse them very often but I received an email with the book advertised in it and I was immediately intrigued by the plot. I literally didn’t know anything about it, or the author, except the synopsis and that it was a YA novel.

Synopsis:

The Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome has returned after a six-month hiatus. This time, it’s popped up in New York, and it’s wiped out an entire homeless shelter.

The same night of the outbreak, Harper, a seventeen-year-old girl, stumbles across a glowing figure in the desert outskirts of her neighborhood. As her suburb goes on lockdown, Harper finds herself isolated from her friends and family, and soon begins to suspect that the events — though thousands of miles apart — may have something in common.

Harper must find her bravery and embark on a plot-twisting adventure that will have her looking for answers in unexpected places… and worlds

I’m not entirely sure why but before I picked it up I assumed two things about this book: It was going to be a quick, albeit short read a la some YA on Amazon, and that I wasn’t sure I was going to stick with it.

First of all, I didn’t think it was a quick read. There are in the region of about 60 chapters, and whilst they weren’t the longest, they were actually long enough. It took me about a month to read from beginning to end. Part of that was because I didn’t have the most of amount of time to dedicate to reading, but also because I had to take a few breaks from the book.

There are both pros and cons to this book, so I’ll delve into that in a moment, but before I do I just want to skim over the plot.

We meet Harper, a 17 (I think!) something teen just run home from being out in the desert where she saw something that didn’t make sense. It saw her back, and chased her. She is terrified, and all she wants to do is hide with her family. We have a small flashback to earlier in the day as to why she was out in the desert in the first place, and explains a little about the Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome, where it’s popped up and where it popped up. Harpers mother is scared of this disease, and doesn’t want her children leaving the house. Harper, being quite unrelenting, goes out anyway. So naturally, this sleeping sickness comes to town and Harper is quarantined whilst everyone either dies or escapes. Queue some escape attempts and some aliens and a whole load of sci-fi, memory loss, special abilities and something-not-quite-right with the world and we have Potency.

I liked the friends Harper made when she had been abducted by the aliens and they were educating them on their history and cause for existence, but many of the other characters, including Harpers own family didn’t really feel like established characters, so much so that when one of the reveals happens later I was sort of like ‘oh yeah she has XYZ.’

Now I’ve delayed writing about the book because I know I have to rate it. Ultimately, I really enjoyed reading about Harper, and the world that the author created. I thought there was a lot to the story, and there were good plot developments and it did keep me entertained all the way to the end. Even one of the big reveals at the end to be fair I didn’t see coming. (I am not going to spoil it if you wish to pick it up!)

I think there were two things that pulled me out of the book a bit – one of them was that I couldn’t place when the story was being told. Perhaps it was just my misinterpretation but I thought that this was taking place in the near future, but there were a lot of references to Facebook, Instagram, the internet etc in those first few chapters that I struggled to get my head around that this perhaps wasn’t the near future.

The second thing that pulled me out of the story more times than I would have liked was the way that certain things were written. The book is told from a first person perspective (I seem to gravitate towards this style just lately) but some of the ways that things are written just jarred me. It’s nothing concerning or anything like that, but it’s colloquialisms like ‘brah’ that I took me by surprise. The way the story is written is also a bit long a big long stream of consciousness – which I guess it is as it’s in first person – but also meant that I didn’t necessarily pick up on all the details as they happened. I find this a lot in first person books though, so that could be just be me.

Overall I enjoyed the story here, I would like to read more from the author. There was a lot to take in this book, and perhaps not everything was perfectly explained (as can be the case in first person stories where there’s a lot going on in the authors head). I’ll keep and eye for the next book and see where the story goes.

My next book will be the new Laini Taylor one…. but completion of this book makes 1/12 for this year. (This years reading challenge is just one book per month. Anything above that would be nice but I’m not over reaching with it this year).

Until next time folks,

Kialtho

I got a slow cooker…

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… and actually used it!

Whether or not I have mentioned it before on this blog… I need to loose weight. And a lot of it. I also just want to eat healthier with not a lot of effort put into it. Obviously, these things can be done in a number of ways, but I thought I would try a slow cooker and see what sorts of things I could make.

Let me tell you now that I hate stews and casseroles. I think the only time I eat stew is when Alex cooks it in the pressure cooker – an implement I am not likely to use any time soon. That thing scares me!

The slow cooker I got I essentially only paid £2.99 for as I had been given some Love to Shop vouchers for Christmas, so even better that it was a bargain!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that my brother is living with me at the moment as well. We both like to cook, so we both knew that this was a good investment. The other thing that I am hoping it would do is reduce my out goings on food. It’s getting expensive to just buy food. With the left overs that I had from that first dinner I saved and put in the freezer, so what ever happens with the next lot of food it can also go in the freezer.

The downside to all of this is that my partner, Alex, doesn’t want to eat out of the slow cooker. He’s such a fussy eater he said ‘he doesn’t like the way the meat goes’. I’m not sure I understand this in it’s essence as he’ll use the pressure cooker. I also asked if he would try say BBQ ribs or something and he said he would.

I’m sure you can understand my confusion.

My plans this week are to use the cooker at least twice, once for a chilli con carne (excluding the kidney beans as my brother doesn’t like them) and for some tomato soup. I’ve been looking for some good soup recipes for a while, especially tomato as it’s my favourite so am looking forward to trying them.

Here’s a photo of the food we did the other day:

We did a Tikka Masala, a nicely spicy one – one of those ‘just right’ ones. We used chicken thighs for it – a meat I hadn’t really tried cooking with before either! It was such a success that I wonder if I can replicate it again. The recipe came from here. It was super simple to follow, and we didn’t change anything from it except that we had an accident with cayanne pepper which added a nice heat, and that we didn’t blend up the ingredients at the end.

Do you use a slow cooker? What do you make? Care to share some recipes?

2018 in review

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Over the last year or so on this blog I feel like I haven’t achieved much. This is because all the things that I like to write about have been on the back burner – in terms of finding the time to write about them, and completing them in the first place. Reading books, for instance. Howsoever I thought I would still put some time into summarising my year of books and knitting, because despite it all I did still make 20(ish?) items and read a few books.

I challenged myself to make 20 projects via Ravelry, however two of them went into the frog pond so the actual total is 18.

Here are a few stats:

I knit 9,176 metres of yarn (not including a couple of projects that I didn’t allocate yarn totals for as they were minimal).
This totals approximately 5.7 miles.
13 were gifted to other people, including various baby items.
5 were for me.
2 were frogged.

In with these totals I had 4 crochet projects, which is just one more than last year.

My favourite projects… is harder to decide this year than last year. Quite possibly a couple of the things that I made for myself – my Heliopath vest that I made in a pretty red yarn from John Lewis, or the remake of The Eldertree Shawl in bright rainbow colours against a black sparkly background.

My challenge for the new year is to also make 20 projects. I believe that this is achievable.

The book side of things was far more disappointing. I only tackled 7 books last year, and 2 of them were of the same series. Until I checked the reading challenge page on Goodreads I would have told you that this was far greater. 7 seems very small, and very embarrassing. That being said, I think my favourite book of the year was Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – who quickly became one of my favourite authors with the ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ series from a few years back.

I completed the Themis Files series by Sylvain Neuvel which was such a good read but each book took me so long to complete that… I just didn’t get much else read.

This year I aim to read 12 books. One per month would be a good aim, right? I already have my first two lined up… one an ARC from NetGalley that I didn’t expect to win, and the other the second book in the ‘Strange the Dreamer’ series. Hopefully these won’t take long.

So that was my brief look at 2018 in hobbies. 2018 also bought other challenges with it that I totally didn’t see coming. My brother coming to live with me in September was just one of them. We only have a one bedroom flat, so he’s been sleeping on the sofa ever since. For me this is the biggest thing that has impacted my hobbies as I love spending time on my own – and am completely, totally comfortable in my own company so having someone else around all the time is why my hobbies have been on the down low. Especially the reading! It is only now, almost 4 months later that I am beginning to return to my routine, including keeping the flat tidy.

I also had a big flare up of sciatica that whilst it didn’t floor me as I’ve known it to do people, it has pretty much impacted my last half of the year. As a result of this every day has had some sort of pain involved. It affects my legs more than my back (I subsequently went back to the doctors today to get the next stage of investigation on it…. slightly longer than the 6 weeks they initially told me!)

Lastly I rejoined the gym. Now, considering I officially have a bad back you have to wonder why I did this, but it was simple: exercise is supposed to help with sciatica – according to the doctor anyway – and also, that whole loosing weight thing too. So I am back at the gym, and can go swimming whenever I like with it as well. Next up will be to tackle some classes and go and find a yoga class or a pilates class or something alongside my physio.
Well, I think that’s me for now! Happy new year, and let it be a good one!

Kialtho

Only Human – Themis Files #3 – Sylvain Neuvel

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The last in the series, again took me far too long to get through – not because it wasn’t a good book but in that I struggled to find time to actually get to reading. Of course, because it is the last in the series, beware that there will probably be spoilers in this review.

Synopsis (GoodReads)

In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other.

This whole series was absolutely phenomenal. I enjoyed being the world that Neuvel created immensely, I loved the whole idea of the ancient aliens and them returning some few thousand years later because the planet discovered what they had left behind. Throughout the whole things there’s the air of mystery – how were they going to resolve the situations forced upon them?

I feel like there’s so much that I would like to talk about that I don’t even know where to begin!

We start this one with those that had been celebrating inside Themis having been transported across the universe to it’s home planet. There we meet the Ekt, the race responsible for the annihilation of millions of humans on Earth from the previous book. The Ekt feel guilty about what they’ve done, and basically ‘keep’ the humans on Ekt as they just don’t know what to do with them. Because of the genetics – are they part Ekt or are they completely alien? Because of this limbo for 10 years on the planet they don’t really belong anywhere, or to anyone. Victor, Eva’s dad, decides it’s time to leave. So they cause an uprising and escape the planet in Themis to return home.

Turns out home isn’t as pleasant as when they leave – millions of dead and all. Internment camps exist all over the world, racist not only against Muslims, but those with too much alien DNA blamed for the extinction of millions even though it’s really just a DNA lottery.

The world is up the creek and has no paddle. Until of course, Rose and get companions return home and try their hardest to fix it. Of course, they may be well known but they cannot fix the world. It can’t just go back to how it was.

There are things that happen in this book that it took me a moment to understand. The world has gone to the pan, there’s another robot in play and Themis is in control of the Russians. War is rife and the Americans and Russians are trying to dominate the world (nothing like a Cold War throwback).

I think the way that the resolution played out was…. interesting. Rose, with no other options left, contacts the aliens and makes them come back to threaten the human race into submission and behaviour. Like telling a parent on a naughty child. I wasn’t too sure how I felt about this as it meant that the human race didn’t really achieve anything themselves? I don’t know.

Ultimately though it was a really enjoyable read, and I haven’t read anything remotely like it before. I look forward to reading more from the author that’s for sure!

Have you read this last book? What did you think of it?

Happy reading!

Kialtho

Bournemouth Cardigan, a scarf and half a glove pair….

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As we near the end of the year I have two knitting related things to write about. They are the Bournemouth Cardigan, and a 2×2 ribbed scarf.

Earlier this year I agreed to make a cardigan for someone as they had given me something really special and handmade. I asked them a few times what they would like and they settled on a cardigan. Next came the colour – black. I tried to change his mind on it, but no, black was what was required, so black it was that I had made.

Obviously, because the cardigan is black it’s hard to take a decent photo, but here it is:

It only took about a month to make – which was great as I wasn’t sure exactly how long I was going to sink into it. I started on the arms as they make great tension checkers, and then went to the body. I was originally going to make the biggest size available, but it looked to be coming out quite big so changed my mind and went for a size smaller. Now though… I not 100 per cent convinced that it is going to fit. We shall see.

Yarn used was Hayfield Bonus Aran with wool. I’ve used this for lots of projects in the past and I thought it has held up well over the years. I would definitely use it again. I estimated that I would need 3 balls of this yarn though, each at 400g each, and used just 1 and half! So…….. now I have lots of yarn left that I’m not entirely sure I will use.

My next project was a basic 2×2 ribbed scarf. I put a 3 stitch i-cord border on each side as well. The key thing on this project was to keep it simple to show off the colours. The yarn itself was King Cole Riot in DK weight. The yarn was a present for my birthday or Christmas last year I think from my parents. It was really nice to work with and I would definitely use it again. With the remains I am thinking of making some sort of baby related clothing for my niece, although what I don’t know.

I did start another project just a few days ago but decided this morning that it wasn’t going to work. To be fair it was a disaster of my own making as I changed the needle type that I was using half way through – I think it would still not have been particularly good had I used the original needles throughout. But here’s the picture:

I wanted a new set of gloves as Alex managed to felt ones that I had before out of the same yarn. (He denies that this was something of his own doing, but he was the one that put the washing on and hadn’t checked that there was some of my woollens going in). Never mind, I will keep browsing the patterns on Ravelry to find the perfect pair of new gloves….