A Knitting Update

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So I haven’t posted about my knitting in a while. I finished a project and let it linger until I could get it blocked, I also crocheted an elephant a la Heidi Bears, then knit a jumper for Mum, and finally this evening the quickest project ever which was an ear warmer thing, which is perfect considering the bad weather that has come in over the UK this weekend. I also made a hat during this time, but I don’t want to share a photo of it as the recipient still hasn’t received it.

My first project was the Fallston shawl – which I shared the beginning of in my last knitting related blog. This was a quick knit, and was meant to be the project I took my time with as I was supposed to be resting my hands from the RSI I gave myself from making the baby blanket. Even now, some four months later, my hands do still ache and my grip strength is vast reduced compared to what it used to be. It does seem to be getting better though, for those of you who maybe wondering about it. Fallston was a good knit, I chose some stash yarn from The Uncommon Thread and GnomeAcres. The GnomeAcres was ‘Glow Cloud’ which is a variegated yarn with pinks, purples and a little brown in it. I used this for the last part as I wanted it to stand out, and didn’t necessarily want to conform to the norm with it. It worked, and once it was made I decided that it would be a gift for my boss who’s always, like always, cold. [Instagram photo as I apparently don’t have a photo of it on my computer].

 

Next up was the elephant. I decided to make this in the same colours as the hippo I made back in the spring, so now they’re a set! The elephant was super simple to make, and pretty easy to put together. I put some ceramic baking beads into the body to weigh it down, and tucked these into the foot I’d cut off a light pair of tights. It works, so I’m not going to complain.

Over all I was really happy with the elephant, but it took so long to finish that I was getting annoyed with having it on the hook. I used Women’s Institute soft and silky yarn [my go to yarn really], which worked quite well. This project was also supposed to be a stash buster project, but I needed more red yarn so…. I’m not sure really how much stash I actually busted.

I went to stay with my mum and dad at the beginning of November as we were having work done to our bathroom, and decided to finish a project that mum had started but wasn’t going to be able to finish due to a recent diagnosis/confirmation of osteoarthritis in her thumb joints. Knitting was hard work for her, and she wanted an owls jumper – I happily obliged. She hasn’t told me if it fits yet though!

Lastly it was the chunky ear warmer. I’ve made this pattern a few times, but for some reason the pattern had disappeared from my Ravelry library. I’m going to be honest here and say I used the wayback machine to get the pattern. It’s a simple pattern, and a quick knit at that.

What have you been making recently? I don’t know what’s next for the needles!

Kialtho

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Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Curse King: 3DS

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I don’t write about games very often, I have to say. I used to be quite an avid gamer, from playing Sonic the Hedgehog when I was small through to things like Tomb Raider, Devil May Cry and GTA. Gaming has had a huge impact on my life – Lara Croft was my idol growing up. I think I played every game in the franchise except for Angel of Death, and I can’t even remember why that was.

When I was at school I remember asking my parents for a Playstation 2. They would pay for it, and then I would pay them back week by week from my job at the hairdressers until it was paid off. There’s two reasons why I wanted this game console… Tomb Raider: Legend, and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King.

I’d spent ages playing on a PS1 demo disk for both those games. In retrospect the Tomb Raider one was far too easy, but I was so excited to be back with my hero I didn’t care so much. The Dragon Quest game, if I remember rightly, was limited to about an hours worth of play. Everything about this game sucked me in – the colours, the cartoon graphics, the music and the story. When I first started playing I thought an hour would be a long time to play, but it wasn’t! I hadn’t gone anywhere and my time was up!

So my parents agreed to the plan and I could have a Playstation 2 with the two games I wanted. To be fair, I could probably have lived my entire PS2 life just playing those two games. I got more – like Devil May Cry – great memories of sharing that game with my brother whilst we listed to Red Hot Chilli Peppers ‘By the Way’ on repeat, and decided that ‘Tear’ definitely had something to do with DMC because of the line ‘devil may cry, devil may care’ which is in the game. Sort of. ‘Devils Never Cry was the name of Dantes shop – he changes it at the end for Trish to ‘Devil May Cry’. It was the little things.

Anyway, I digress.

Dragon Quest VIII is the game that not only introduced me to the Dragon Quest series – I have several of them on the DS now – it opened up to me a world of intense gameplay that could go on for hours and hours. In that original game save I sunk over 200 hours. In another 45, and another about 40. I restarted a few times, but I couldn’t get away from my original hero, whom I named Alyss. [Because, it was totally me in that game, yeah? And I was what… 14? 15?] Dragon Quest sucked me into it’s world in a way that Final Fantasy never could.

Fast forward a few years, a DS, 3DS, a PS3 [Tomb Raider made me buy this] and a PS4 [Tomb Raider and Dragon Quest Heroes made me buy this… can you sense a theme here?] later… and we have the re-release of Dragon Quest on the 3DS. Now, I know this game came out quite some time ago… but I’m an adult with actual bills to pay, so I only got it a few months ago. I played some, then put it aside and did something else. Probably knitting.

Well… I finished the main part of the game yesterday. I have absolutely loved being back in the heroes world [yeah, this time he was called Kialtho, but again, why not??]. The world was just as immersive as I remember, and I am aware that I haven’t even come close to completing the game in it’s entirety, I just wanted to gush about it a little bit!

As I came close to the finish, I have spent some time online wondering what other people had to say about it. Most people seemed sore on two core issues: redesigning Jessica’s outfits so that they were more ‘conservative’, and other censoring issues like a scene where Marcello uses magic to free himself rather than stab himself like he did in the original version, and the music. (There’s a guy out there that’s completed the game on a speed run in just 8:40. That’s insane!)

On both these topics I have this to say: it had been such a long time since I had played the game that I didn’t notice. The music sounded as awesome as it did before, and it is one of the things that kept me in the game. I’m sure if you played them comparatively you would notice a difference, but I didn’t. And in regards to the censorship – they lowered the rating of the game for an all ages game. I believe the original was PEGI 12 so it makes sense that they’ve made a few changes.

I loved, and I mean loved, the new content. And that you could get Morrie and Red as playable characters too. Although, I was a little sad to replace Yangus ‘legendary bandit turned hero’ with Red, but she did sort of nerf him. Her attacks were awesome. I’ve maxed out her Fans and Rougery skills and am working up the Blades one. I’m sure I should have done blades first, but I’m happy with how it’s been. With Morrie I got him a little later than the rest so he’s currently my lowest powered character and as such I haven’t used him all that much. That being said his Claws and Passion are making great progress.

I still have a long way to go before I can complete the final two dungeons, but that second one makes it sound like its going to be worth levelling up to the max. That will be my next challenge!

I’ll write about my knitting [two blogs to come on that front] and my book [so nearly finished!] soon. But for now, it’s back to the NaNo train.

Happy gaming,

Kialtho

Thief’s Magic: Millenniums Rule #1 – Trudy Canavan

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I have spent a decent amount of time in the universes that Trudi Canavan creates. I’ve read all of the Black Magician Trilogy, and then it’s sequel the The Traitor Spy Trilogy. I’ve also spent some time in the Age of Five universe, but I only read the first book. So it’s safe to say that I’ve experienced Trudi Canavan’s writing before, and know some of what to expect in terms of the writing and the set up. From the moment I’d read the synopsis of Thief’s Magic I had wanted to read this series, but have only recently got around to picking up the book.

Synopsis [GoodReads]:

In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces.

Elsewhere, in an land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it — should she dare to risk the Angels’ wrath.

But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands… and not even the people they trust.

We are introduced to Tyen, a student of archeology and magic, working to find something valuable whilst on a dig. All her gets is a dusty old book, but it’s a little more than that. It’s a book that talks, in a sense. Think…. Chamber of Secrets and Tom Riddles diary. Except the book can’t lie. And can instantly know everything that the holder knows. Tyen keeps the book a secret from the Academy – the prestigious school where he is studying his magic and history – but of course, these sorts of secrets don’t stay secret for long and he’s quickly on his way as a fugitive, set up for a theft he didn’t commit.

There is also the story of Rielle. A dyers daughter in the city of Fyre. She’s sent to the temple to study and become fodder for a marriage into one of the more wealthy families. She can see magic, see the stain it leaves behind but she has never revealed this fact to anyone except her aunt who has instructed her to keep it a secret all her life. Naturally, this also causes some problems for Rielle, but not until after she is kidnapped by someone they call ‘tainted’ – someone who has learned magic but not through the priesthood. All Rielle wants to do is become an artist, but fate has other plans for her as she is accused of using magic herself, and thus become tainted, and sent away to the mountain temple to serve her sentence.

In both stories all is not what it seemed. I spent a good deal of time wondering how these lives were going to interlink. Is Rielle going to become the book, Vella? Or, if as simple as living in separate worlds, how will their lives interlink? Who would be crossing into who’s world – which is a possibility thanks to the knowledge divulged by Vella. Rielle is a powerful untrained magician, and Tyen is also a powerful sorcerer although not fully trained had greater reach with the magic than his professors realised.

There are some very typical Canavan elements in this book. From the empire of Leratia, the magic, the lesser status of women, and a typical evil doer it has all the basics for a good adventure. You could tell that this particular book was the set up book, the journey to get you to where the characters needed to be for the big plan to happen – which would have been better had something a bit more than the journey happened. I was disappointed that the characters didn’t meet, thinking that their journey would come together here, even if it was on a cliffhanger ending that is so popular these days.

I will read the next book in the series, that’s for sure and hopefully things will pick up a bit there. As mentioned, this book was about the whole journey to get the characters to where they needed to be… not a great deal happened otherwise. There was an interesting character that we were introduced to in Rielle’s world that I think maybe the connection to Vella and Tyen so hopefully this will be revealed in the next outing.

That’s all for now folks! What are you reading at the moment? I have yet to chose my next book, and I hate the anxiety I get from not knowing what’s coming up next!

Kialtho

Rainbow Ripple Blanket

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It’s been a few weeks since I completed my last knitting project, and what can I say about it other than I am super happy with it. I was waiting to write the blog post about it as I wanted to get some more photo’s after I had washed it and trimmed the tails, but it’s still languishing in the finished objects box waiting for my washing basket to decrease [it never does].IMG_3109

This blanket I feel like I should describe as my masterpiece. Definitely the biggest blanket I’ve made so far, and whilst it only used 7.5 balls of yarn it feels a lot weightier. For this project I used Stylecraft Special DK which also was the first time I had used this yarn and it was just delightful to use! The colours are just beautiful, and I don’t feel as though my photo’s do the blanket justice.

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Despite being my masterpiece I did make some errors. Remember that meme that was going around about living dangerously due to not using stitch markers?

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Yeah. That. Also: Maggie Smith – rules.

There were a few times that I would get to the end of the lace row and something not match up – either I would have a couple of stitches left over [happened the most, if I’m honest] or I wouldn’t have enough as I went into it. But, me being me, wasn’t undoing 300 odd stitches to put it right. I had to do that really early on as I’d gotten carried away and completed two extra knitting rows rather than putting a lace row in.

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There is one big downside to this project – and it’s not that I’m giving it away to my sister or anything like that – but this is the project that broke my hands. Not in the literal sense, but it would appear that I have given myself a Repetitive Strain Injury – in both hands. At least, that is what I think it is. I bloody hope it’s not something but life long and worse. Because of this I invested in a Powerball – and boy does that work wonders on the hands! But as a result my next project is moving along at a somewhat more glacial speed than I am used to and I am having to force myself to rest more often than before. I could also just be getting old.

The only reason that I think this is an RSI is because I was using DK yarn – and let’s be honest most of my projects are made with fingering/sock weight yarn, and the construction. This was made by casting all the required stitches on rather than my normal blanket construction of working in circles and starting with just a few.

In all this project took around about two and half months to complete [another vote for RSI there?] and I seriously couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out. From the colour choices to the size – if I were to steam block it to it’s proper dimensions it would cover my bed [that’s a double sized one, by the way].

Would I make another one? Yes. Would it be as big? Probably not.

Once I had finished that I also made a quick cowl. I’m trying to go through my stash – but to be honest there’s not an awful lot of it left! However, this cowl was made more or less in an evening out of Sirdar Husky and is going to be free to a good home… if anyone wants it. I always feel so clumsy using such thick yarn. I definitely won’t be making leaps into the gorilla yarn that seems to be all the rage right now!

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What’s on your needles/hooks right now? My next project is a shawl, and also marks the 100th uniquely listed project in my Ravelry projects page!

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The Last Girl (The Dominion Trilogy) – Joe Hart

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It would seem that this year I have started a fair few series, most of the books in my GoodReads list have a ‘#1’ behind them. Sadly, many of them haven’t gripped my attention to warrant reading the next books… but it’s one of those things where I’ll just have to see what happens. It’s taking so long to get through books at the moment, which is really unlike me at all.

My most recent read was The Last Girl. I can’t remember if it was a paid download or if I got it free from Amazon, but it was an interesting read.

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Synopsis:

A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than 1 percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women.
Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound dedicated to determining the cause. For two decades, she’s been isolated from her family, treated as a test subject, and locked away—told only that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population.
Captivity is the only life Zoey has ever known, and escaping her heavily armed captors is no easy task, but she’s determined to leave before she is subjected to the next round of tests…a program that no other woman has ever returned from. Even if she’s successful, Zoey has no idea what she’ll encounter in the strange new world beyond the facility’s walls. Winning her freedom will take brutality she never imagined she possessed, as well as all her strength and cunning—but Zoey is ready for war.

This was one of those reads that started slow, and left me wondering if it was going to be slow the whole way through. It did pick up, and made for an interesting, some what… strange read. I definitely had to do the suspension of disbelief thing, but then it is a little science fiction-y so that was okay… on the surface.
We start by meeting a girl called Zoey who is held in a compound. She’s been there most of her life. As the story progresses we learn the fate of humanity beforehand – women stopped giving birth to girls and only men were being bought into society. This shady agency basically kidnapped the remaining girls they could find – and would regularly raid towns for girls as well – in order to ‘preserve’ them and make them into the future. They took on the form of educators, indoctrinated to learnt that that was their place, the rules are the rules, and that sometimes one person is worth sacrificing for the greater good. No books, nothing that the director of the compound did not approve of.
They were safe, but Zoey knows there’s more to this life. She’s been smuggled books, be taught to think independently of the director, the compound and it’s regime. Zoey decides she’s going to escape before her 21st birthday, the day where she’s supposed to be reunited with her family, but she knows that this isn’t going to happen, knows it’s a fallacy and it’s time to make a change.
What I liked about this book was that it was gritty. It was bloody, and it wasn’t for kids. Zoey did everything she could to survive, she murdered and fought for her life. She overcame her fears and forced herself to survive in a land that she had no clue about.
Of course, the first group of men she came across would have happily kidnapped her and raped her. Because of course, if you haven’t seen a woman for a long time the first thing you think of is rape. This is probably the aspect of the book I had the most issue with. The guards wanted to rape, these men wanted to rape… I’m not sure it was necessary for the book. It was gritty enough without these attempts. Zoey certainly showed those people what she thought of them with the bullet end of her gun though.
By all rights she should have died out in the wilderness. Affected by a fever from her injuries, definitely very sick and having nothing but some yummy raw rotten fish, she survived a long time before finding the help she needed.
I don’t want to say more about the book or the storyline as it is, but I really enjoyed how this progressed. There are consequences to the actions taken, consequences that Zoey is going to have to live with the rest of her life. There wasn’t quite a happily ever after, and it didn’t end on a cliff hanger like I was expecting. I plan to read the rest of this series to see how it plans out, and how the science is explained…
… and in terms of the science, here I just want to query something. I was under the impression that when embryos are conceived we all start out female then become male. I’m sure that this isn’t something that I’ve made up. So, I was thinking that it would make more sense for the men to be dying out… controversial I know! There’s even scientific ability to create life using women only, so this is where that suspension of disbelief comes into play.
Have you read this one? What did you think of it? What are you reading at the moment?
Kialtho

 

Crochet Star Blanket

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It’s been a while since I have completed my finished object that I am sharing today. I wanted to wash and block it properly, and then get some good photos… what can I say? I washed it, and dried it and all that, but to be honest because it’s a mostly acrylic blend yarn it’s not really changed it’s shape. I was a little reluctant to use heat as I wasn’t sure how the wool content would hold up.

That being said, it does look good, so I am happy.

What I am sharing today is some crochet. I attended my best friends wedding in May and Alex picked up some yarn from the shop across the road from the church (well, why not?). So I came home with these two balls of 150g Sirdar Colour Wheel that was begging to be crocheted. I chose something simple that would allow the colours to work well and something that wouldn’t be too taxing on my brain as I had a lot of work related stuff to finish at the same time.

I ended up making a Star blanket. I found the pattern on Ravelry, and then used a YouTube video to help guide me in the set up. I imagine I could have done it without the YouTube guide, but I didn’t want the frustration if I am honest! When I was doing this project I decided I would officially declare that I can crochet – although I’ll qualify it with the adage that these skills I have are very beginner and that I hope to definitely develop them further. My true love will always be knitting though, I think there’s an elegance to it that doesn’t seem to be recreated in crochet.

Here are some photo’s of the blanket. It’s more of a foot warmer than a blanket that can cover me and keep me warm, but I’m still proud of it. Artie, naturally, declared it as his as soon as I finished, and who am I to refused my spoiled brat of a cat? He even took it with him on his holiday to his Nanny’s when we went to another wedding in country.

I’ve tried to get some better photo’s than just my iPhone ones… What do you think?

My current project is also a blanket. I’m super excited to see how its going to turn out and to share it with you when it’s ready! I’m about a quarter of the way through it now though, so I have some time to go with it yet!

What are you making at the moment? Does your furbaby declare that your projects are theirs?

Kialtho

In which there has been knitting, but I haven’t been writing…

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It’s been a while since I wrote a knitting blog, but I have good reason – I haven’t gotten around to blocking what I’ve made! I seem to be fighting a never ending pile of washing, and I can’t really wash my knitted stuff before the normal clothes I wear – I think clean pants, work clothes and socks sort of come first.

So despite this fact I thought I would share some of my recent makes with you, as there are a few now!

To start with I have this cardigan – it’s called ‘From Way Back’ and the pattern is available on Ravelry. I’d been wanting to make it for a while as I really liked the back design. I also needed this project to of the winning kind as the previous few I’d made hadn’t exactly gone according plan.

Luckily, this more or less did go to plan. I had calculated that I would need 5 balls of my chosen yarn, this time a Robyn acrylic DK in a forest green colour. It took about three weeks to make in all, and once it goes through the wash it will loosen up a bit.

I also need to get some buttons to match!

The sleeves seemed to go one forever, but when I tried it on they came just above the wrist. I decided to leave them like that as I end up pulling my sleeves up to that point anyway. At this point in time I don’t know if I’ll like that as I’ve taken my choice away from doing it… if that makes sense. I’d like to make it again for sure as I really enjoyed making this, and it was a lot simpler that it looks. Especially when you look at the lace chart – but like I say – a lot easier than it looks.

Next up I made some Hermione’s Everyday socks. Again these only took a few weeks. For these I used my KnitPro Zing DPNs. I don’t usually use DPNs but it worked well for these. I initially tried to use my 9” circulars but I wasn’t finding them particularly comfortable to use – perhaps it was because I needed to purl stitches occasionally. The most comfortable I’ve found these needles to be used on was the Water for the Elephants socks… so I’m not sure why I don’t find these so great to use.

I used some yarn that I had been gifted for Christmas from my sister. It is King Cole Zigzag which is a merino/nylon blend and just worked so well for this project. I had no idea what to expect from the yarn, nor how it would knit up. I’m super happy with the results for this one, and again, they just need a wash so that I can trim the ends and get around to wearing them.

If I can knit socks as quickly as I did with these then I’ll definitely be using some more of my stash yarn up on socks. I have a blue version of the King Cole yarn to also use as well.

I’ve also made a couple of baby related items:

A cardigan, which was pretty simple to make if a little big. For this I used a left over ball of yarn that I’d got when I made the blanket for a work colleague. This used pretty much a whole ball of yarn [which surprised me as when I first started knitting I swear one ball of DK yarn lasted forever… although thinking about it… it must have been a bigger ball. I’d made a baby dress, mittens and something else out of that yarn and still had leftovers. I think I ended up donating the rest of the yarn].

And lastly, I have these little booties to share. I used some stash aran for these, and didn’t take too long to make… not really. I think I spent a great deal of time trying to find out where Artie had hidden the first one I’d made as he kept stealing my yarn! And the finished items!

My current project is a crochet project. With any luck it’s coming to it’s end so that I can show you it soon!

What are you making at the moment? Care to share?

Kialtho

Ink and Bone – Rachel Caine

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There haven’t been many books this year that I’ve wanted to read and read and not put down, but this was one of them. The first in a trilogy [I think] and it was a ride!

Synopsis:

In a world where the ancient Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, knowledge now rules the world: freely available, but strictly controlled. Owning private books is a crime.

Jess Brightwell is the son of a black market book smuggler, sent to the Library to compete for a position as a scholar . . . but even as he forms friendships and finds his true gifts, he begins to unearth the dark secrets of the greatest, most revered institution in the world.

Those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn. . . .

It’s an interesting premise – one that takes the dystopian ideology that is so popular at the moment and runs it throughout the whole of the last two thousand years. What if the Library of Alexandria had survived? And more than that, because of it’s survival a different way of life evolved?

The story is set in the 2030s. But in reality we have a society that is backward to what we would recognise from out own. There are steam carriages a la steampunk, futuristic bullet trains, technology that mirrors books from the original. No printing press despite how often people come up with the idea, and harbouring original books is very much a black market activity.

There’s a side to the story that is also a little mystical – Obscurists – these people run the alchemy behind the Library, they are both exhaulted and held captive by the Library, never to really see the world again.

At the start we’re introduced to Jess Brightwell, a character who’s family is deeply involved with the black market. He loves reading, and despairs that original books get taken by the Library, but more so when Burners sacrifice themselves and books to the fires, or when people literally rip out the pages of originals and eat them. [Yes, that happens].

Initially, I thought Jess was a girl. I did get very confused about this, mainly because I’ve always associated the name Jess to girls. He also has a twin brother, but he doesn’t get much mention in this book. There’s going to be some deeper stuff with him as the series progresses though.

Jess gets sent to learn and be a part of the Great Library. His teacher is someone that I could only envisage as Snape but in the desert. Black robes and everything. In fact… I’m not sure I remember the teachers name! I just kept thinking of Professor Snape, down to the snarly attitude as well!

The class Jess joins starts off with about 30 members. They are vying for just 6 spaces, and everyday, including the first day, are are risk of being cut from the class. Death isn’t an uncommon way to leave the class either. Of course, being the protagonist, Jess makes it to the end, but it isn’t easy.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the book from here on in, but it was one of those that I felt was perfectly paced. It wasn’t rushed, so wasn’t over super quickly, nor was it drawn out making it a drag to read. It was everything that I needed in a book especially as I haven’t had brilliant reads so far this year, except perhaps my first book of the year.

When I add books to my GoodReads queue I tend to add one at a time when it comes to a series. Just because I’ve read one book a series doesn’t mean I’m going to read them all. But with this book I added all the available books to the queue – I know I’m going to enjoy them just as much as the first one, even if I did accidentally read a spoiler from the blurb before

Is this one that you’ve read? What did you think?

The Wolf Gift – Anne Rice

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I’ve not read much werewolf fiction before, and not a great deal of Anne Rice either (I’m thinking Queen of the Damned, and Interview with the Vampire) so whilst I knew some of her writing, it wasn’t a lot. As such, I didn’t exactly know what to expect when diving into The Wolf Gift.

Synopsis:

MAN OR MONSTER?

Anne Rice reinvented the vampire legend.
Discover what she’s done with the werewolf myth.

After a brutal attack Reuben finds himself changing. His hair is longer, his skin is more sensitive and her can hear things he never could before.

Now he must confront the beast within him or lose himself completely.

That’s literally the only synopsis I found, and it’s not exactly detailed for such a big book, right? The version of the book I had was over 500 pages. This isn’t something that I usually pay attention to – the length of a book has no bearing on how good a book can be.

In this book we’re introduced to Reuben, a 23 year old with a doctorate in English. He’s working for a local newspaper, and every seems to love him. Oh, and he’s very good looking. Apparently. He’s travelled to a place called Nideck Point to interview a women selling a mansion that’s been in her family since they arrived in the America’s .

Naturally, not only does he want the house itself, he also sleeps with this woman. Despite having a girlfriend. And not exactly knowing the woman, Marchent, either. (This becomes a theme, sort of. Sleeping with someone he doesn’t know despite having a girlfriend). They are attacked in the mansion and Marchent is killed… but then something weird happens and a big dog comes in and kills the attackers, bites Reuben and then runs off. There’s no evidence of this dog except that it killed the intruders.

Naturally, this is the start of the werewolf side of things, and I like that Rice doesn’t invoke typical werewolf lore here. There’s not a change at the full moon, although to begin with it happens every night for about a week and a bit. But it can be controlled, and Reuben learns a lot of things that are going on by himself. As he transforms he’s attracted to the scent of evil, killing those who are committing evil acts – rapists, kidnappers, torturers – those kind of things. He hasn’t exactly lost his mortal compass in killing these people, but he’s not exactly torn apart by it when he returns to his human form either.

In the middle of a forest, in the middle of the night he comes across a house with a woman. The woman looks at Reuben in his wold form, and for some strange reason decides the most logical course of action is to sleep with him. So she does, and they continue this a lot. It’s basically a book with a lot of animal sex but it’s okay because he’s a human really sort of thing going on.

There is an actual plot as well. Except that this book read so much more like an internal narrative that everything that happens just doesn’t have the right feel to it. The secondary characters are treated more as an afterthought than anything integral to the main story.

There’s a lot of references to luxury goods as well. I mean lots. If Reuben was looking at his phone, it was always referred to as an iPhone, the DVD players and sound systems were Bose, the car he drove was a Porches. (I don’t even know if I spelt that right!). It’s alright to mention these things, but over use makes them feel tedious and ‘oh hey look I have this and maybe you don’t’ sort of thing. I got tired of reading them.

The relationship with his first girlfriend in the book didn’t feel like a real relationship – which perhaps was the point as it was so easy for him to cheat on her. There was a theme of that running through their relationship anyway, but there was nothing tangible to relate to that relationship in the first place it makes you wonder what was the point of writing about it. It would have been more effective to have written their relationship as a good and close friendship instead.

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

Kialtho

Knitter’s Performance Issues?

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Okay so I haven’t blogged in a while. Remember my lost post about my Happypottamus…? I was on such a high after making that – something that I didn’t expect I would be able to do, then I went back to my knitting. With knitting, I definitely feel like it takes longer to get results, whereas crochet feels like there’s a lot more instant gratification in the development of the finished product.

I had decided to use some stash yarn and cast on for an Haruni shawl. I think I must have cast this on about ten times before I actually got any where. I would then get between 10 – 50 rows in, and for some reason something would go wrong and I would rip out again. No worries, thought I, this yarn just doesn’t want to become Haruni. [It’s Knitpicks hand painted stroll in the Coffee Shop colour way, probably too busy for Haruni anyway…]. So, in light of this I browsed through Ravely’s Hot Right Now list and decided on a ‘Closer to You’ shawl. I had 200g of this yarn so could make a decent sized shawl.

Not that this project really worked out either, which is exactly why I have delayed in posting. Seriously, I feel like my knitting confidence has taken such a hit because I could get this stupidly simple shawl knit up. There are supposed to be 8 lacy/YO sections at the start of one row every 12 rows [or something like that]. When I cast off I had 158.

158.

No, that wasn’t a typo. I figured out where I was going wrong for one bit and thought that would have solved whatever the problem I was having. It didn’t.

I have cast this one off and thrown into the gift stash without blocking or even sewing in the ends. I don’t even want to acknowledge it right now.

When I cast on my next project, the one I really wanted to be making whilst using up the Knitpicks yarn on the failed project, which this time is a cardigan, it again it took several times to cast on. And several ripping out. I do now have something that looks like it’s going right, but even now there’s a few rows in the middle of the lace section on the back that went wrong.

Honestly, is it normal for knitters to get performance issues? That is the only why I can describe how I’m feeling right now.

For the moment I am taking this new cardigan on a slow and steady basis, reading and rereading each step as it comes to make sure that things go right. I need this project to be a win, and I think I’m in a better rhythm with it right now.

I may undo that shawl in the long term, but for now, it can be in time out.