The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson and Rod Bradbury (translator)

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This is one of those books that I’ve been wanting to read for a while, having seen and been attracted to the title alone. I actually bought it for a friend for Christmas as it was something that I thought he would enjoy, to which he also lent it back to me, so it’s kind of boomeranged back. It’s an interesting book for sure, but I definitely had a few issues with it. This is going to be a bit spoiler-y.


Synopsis:

It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The Mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not… Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century.

We first meet Allan as he’s being prepped for his birthday party – he’s going to be 100 – no mean feat in anyone’s life. But Allan isn’t happy with that, he doesn’t want a birthday party, and does what any normal person would do, and runs away from it instead. He’s not happy with life in his residential home, he doesn’t belong there and doesn’t like Director Alice because she doesn’t like/want/let him drink vodka. If there’s been one thing that’s guided most of Allan’s life decisions it is vodka.

This is one of those stories with two concurrent storylines running at the same time: Allan in the present, the actions and effects of those actions, alongside the people that he meets. It started with the theft of a suitcase. The other is Allan through the years, from when he was a youngster through becoming experienced in explosives, the Spanish Civil war, working in the USA, Russia, China. Through this journey we see Allan’s singlehanded effects in politics – even though he doesn’t like politics and tunes out when people talk about them – he gave the US the atomic bomb, then the Soviets, he spent some time with Churchill, Truman, Mao…there was a lot going on.

For me this book turned into one that was moderately okay, but I wasn’t captured with it like I thought I was going to be. Everything that Allan did was by extraordinary luck, and nothing seemed to have any particular affect on him long term. From being sent to an asylum as a child, experimented on, castratrated, through to serving in wars, blowing up bridges and the invention of the atomic bomb – if I remember rightly Oppenheimer felt intense guilt about creating the bomb and went on to try and alleviate that guilt by lobbying for international control on nuclear power – but Allan just seems to glaze over it with an ‘oh well’ kind of attitude that I don’t think would even exist. Later in life – even into his seventies, he was working as a spy, falsifying reports and contributing to both the space race and the disarmament campaigns in Soviet Russia through his work in the CIA.

I think I would have liked this book a whole lot more if the writing had been a little different. I really felt that the use of the short and simple sentences detracted me from the book itself, and was a little insulting as it sort of read like a newspaper article. Just a really long one. There were also lots of sentences that ran like this: this happened and then this happened, and then this happen, and then it was time to leave because Allan wanted some vodka.

I don’t know – I just didn’t gel with the writing. I partly think that this could well have been because it was translated from Swedish, so perhaps something got lost in translation.

Would I recommend this book to others? I think it’s one of those books that if you want a quick read and a little suspension from disbelief for a small while, then sure. Perhaps it would be one of those that you would enjoy far better that I, but overall I didn’t get with the hype of the book, so would say that it’s on the must read list or anything like that.

What books are you reading at the moment? Anything that excites you? I’m about to pick up “Welcome to Night Vale” and looking very much to reading. It’s been on the bookshelf for long enough!

Kialtho

Bramblewood, Haps and Dyeing Yarn

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When I was driving around today I had a thought about whether there’s an Industrial or EBM DAB radio station. Chances are slim, to be honest, so when I got home I loaded up my MacBook and searched for some online music instead. Kerrang Radio is okay, but not always what I’m looking for. The same with Classic FM. Sometimes you want something that bit more aggressive, and with the iPod not plugged in today, I had to make do.

When I checked my blog I was a bit shocked, and a little ashamed, to realise that I hadn’t written recently, especially considering I have some knitted exploits to share! I’m making progress on my most recent book as well, but this year does not seem to be the year that I am going to hit that 40 books a year target. I should have read ten by now, and I’m only on the fifth. Perhaps next year, then.

So: Knitting. I have one complete project to share with you, and that would be my knitted Bramblewood Vest. I loved working on this because it’s the sort of pattern that reminds of something that my Nana would wear, especially if it was a tweedy blue or a tweedy red. It sort of makes me feel a bit closer to her by having made it. It’s made in the Hayfield Bonus Aran, which is the same yarn I made my Heliopath Vest in, so know that this is a good yarn and will stand up to the test of time. The yarn itself just seems to go on forever as well.IMG_7798

IMG_7799The pattern itself was easy to follow, which was great as it was my first ever top down project – although I’m not sure if I like the way that the top of the shoulders look. I know there’s no changing that, it’s just the type of construction, but still….

The overall fit is pretty good as well, considering I (didn’t) really pay attention to gauge/tension. I’m totally happy to admit that I’m a winger when it comes to make projects that require tension swatches…. ain’t nobody got time for that! In all seriousness though… I know I should pay attention but that side of knitting bores me. I want to just dive right in!

In regards to this project the only thing that I need to change is the icord edging around the arm holes. The way I’ve finished it has made them too tight, and the arms weren’t exactly the biggest shaped arms I’ve come across – so these will have to be unpicked and knit up in some ribbing stitch instead. I know that it does fit as I tried it on before adding that icord edge, so it’s definitely that that’s causing the issue there. It’s just finding the motivation to unpick the icord!

My next project is “A Hap for Harriet” by Kate Davies. The pattern is simple, and well executed which is what I needed for this one as it’s my first time using lace weight yarn. It does feel like it’s going to take some time to make it all the way to the cast off edge, but so far I have completed 15 “teeth” (for lack of better words) which I think equates to about 13 pattern repeats plus the two set up repeats. I like the fact that this pattern bases the yarn on percentage of what’s left rather than set measurements in the pattern as it means tension isn’t so much of an issue, and means that I can use as much of my 1000 metres of yarn to it’s full potential! Although, again at 15 teeth and only 96 grams used, this may take a while. My original skein had 106g of yarn, so it’s not so bad when put like that! I’m using Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in this most brilliant cherry red colour. It’s one of those colours that I just can’t seem to capture adequately on camera!

IMG_7801The last thing that I have to share with you is that I dyed some of my own yarn! Amazing! Before the end of last year I bought some KnitPicks bare… Stroll I think. I really just wanted to have a go, plus it made the order I wanted be over the free shipping price so it was like it was meant to be. These are the two outcomes:

IMG_7800They were made with KoolAid – conveniently sold in one of those USA imported sweet shops in town. And the little sachets are on offer so I had to stock up some for sure. When I first bought some though I wasn’t really sure what I was buying, so ended up with lots of different colours which explains the yellow/blue/purple one. My favourite one is the green and pink, and it’s screaming at me that it wants to be socks, and I even have an inkling as to what that pattern may be as well.

In other news in my life – remember my pretty new car from March first? Well… someone scratched it. I don’t know whether it was on purpose, or an accident or something like that. I’m of the view that someone has keyed it. It went in for it’s repair last week and is looking all shiny and new again! Which is great, except that she is also a bit dirty because you know, having a black car on these UK roads means that she will be dirty within about five minutes of being cleaned!

Anyway, that’s all for now folks, I hope to have another blog entry for you soon! I’m over halfway finished with my current book – The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Escaped (or something like that), so I look forward to writing about that soon.

Take it easy folks,

Kialtho

Wayward – Black Crouch [Wayward Pines #2]

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“Welcome to Wayward Pines, Where Paradise is Home”

With the announcement quite recently of a second series in the Wayward Pines universe, a series that I got super into last year and watched all ten episodes in one day, I thought I would go back to the source material and read the second book in the series. I read the first one last year, and thought that the TV show had certainly done the book justice. This book was slightly different to the running of the series, but I’ll come to that a bit later.

(I don’t think that this review is particularly spoiler-y but just in case… you know the drill!)

Synopsis:

Welcome to Wayward Pines, population 461. Nestled amidst picture-perfect mountains, the idyllic town is a modern-day Eden…except for the electrified fence and razor wire, snipers scoping everything 24/7, and the relentless surveillance tracking each word and gesture.
None of the residents know how they got here. They are told where to work, how to live, and who to marry. Some believe they are dead. Others think they’re trapped in an unfathomable experiment. Everyone secretly dreams of leaving, but those who dare face a terrifying surprise.

Ethan Burke has seen the world beyond. He’s sheriff, and one of the few who knows the truth—Wayward Pines isn’t just a town. And what lies on the other side of the fence is a nightmare beyond anyone’s imagining.

I think one of the things that needs to be remembered from this book that is that the first and second book only cover about 3 weeks in our apocalyptic dystopia. We know the truth now, about Wayward Pines, about the mountain, and what it is , exactly, that lay just beyond the fence. Of course, we know the truth, but the people of the town do not. They think that they are being held prisoner, or in limbo or somewhere against their will. Constant surveillance – a concept that is widely expanded upon in this book – not being able to talk about their past, how they really feel and just what is it about this town that they just can’t leave?

Crouch introduces the Wanderers to us, those who have discovered their microchips and removed them. This innocent group of people who just want to be themselves, and certainly not the people they have to pretend to be in the every day. Wives, husbands, children to people that they don’t belong to. But they can’t bring themselves to leave the town through the secreted away tunnel through the fence. The thing holding them back? No one has ever returned. Fear. Fear of everything keeps the people of Wayward Pines at bay.

And then Ethan Burke shows up, knowing the truth, going from fugitive to the Sheriff in little under three weeks with a town to run, a murder to solve, and a fete to call.

I thought how he dealt with the fete was great, and I don’t recall a murder in the TV series so that was a good plot twist, especially when I find out more information about it, and who the murderers were. It’s one of those things where it could have been really, super in your face obvious, but I didn’t feel as though it was.

We get more screen time with other residents of Wayward Pines this time around, get to experience what life feels like for these poor people confined to boring jobs, pretence and surveillance. We’re also introduced to a lone ranger, operating outside the fence, making his way back to the town – and considering how the story was progressing especially with some of the flashbacks into the past, I felt that it was going to be predictable who he was going to be… if that makes sense. Although, I am intrigued about his knowledge, about what he and he alone can do about the abbies.

We did end with that typical second book dystopian cliffhanger though. Luckily my version of the book from Amazon had that “next bit” in, which suggests it is going to have a fast paced conclusion.

Winter – Marissa Meyer

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Winter – Marissa Meyer

I finally finished! This book, being the last in the series was huge! At just over 800 pages [823, I think] it was always going to take some time to get through, but it felt like it was going on for a long time. Admittedly I did read another book in between, something that I don’t usually do, and I was focusing on my crochet and playing the most recent Pokemon game…. so you can see why it took so long to get through!winter-final

Synopsis:

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

There’s so much to talk about from this book. First off, it was really, really big. Possibly the longest YA book I’ve read to date. I’m sure that some of the beginning of the book could have been cut down, but it was a great ride, and I loved being back with Cinder, fighting her battles against the evil Queen Levanna.

Things happened in this book but that I didn’t think would happened – the wedding, the coronation for instance. [I’ll try and be vague, I don’t want to give anything away or be someone who will spoil the story for anyone who may not have read it yet].

I love how immersive this world is, and how good the reinvention of the fairy tales were. I love the fact that this was set in the future, and that this particular book took place largely on Lunar. We got to see how Levanna treats her subjects, even those that were loyal to her. I felt like she could have held out for a little longer though, I have to say. I won’t talk too much about it, but definitely thought she could have hung it out a bit longer, or have something else up her sleeve before that final battle.

Winter was a brilliant character. I know she was a little bit crazy, and that everyone loved her – I think that’s what made her more compelling. The Queen was outdone by a teenage Lunar that refused to use her gift, afraid of that Lunar because she was just so pretty. Naturally pretty, and Levanna wasn’t.

I think Iko may have been my favourite character of the whole book. I know she wasn’t based on a fairytale, but she definitely held an echo of Pinocchio in her story. I felt like she had the most character development, and not just because she ended up with a different body [the one that Thorne had gotten for her in “Cress”]. I just loved her personality, it was on point for sure. I love some of the fan art around her too!

There’s so much to say on this book, but I just don’t want to. It was brilliant, and I loved it. I’m sad that this part of the story is over – I know that there’s the short stories, and Levanna’s book as well, but seriously, I’ve loved this story. It’s been a while since I enjoyed a series as much as I have this one.

I’ll leave it there for now, I know that this isn’t the most constructive review… but if this is on your to read list… enjoy it!

Kialtho

A Little Catch Up…

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It’s been such a busy time of it lately that my blog has been rather sadly neglected. Finding the time to do anything – read, knit, even going to the gym – has been a bit of a hit and miss. I blogged the other day about a book I got free from NetGalley, which was cool that I got a free book, but it was a bad book… so I’m not sure if/how that balances out. Because it was from NetGalley I was able to read it on my break at work on my iPad, but it wasn’t the book that I wanted to be reading! I’m almost half way through “Winter” but it’s such a big book that reading and eating at the same time is pretty much impossible.

I thought I would take a little time out this morning to update the blog and some of the things that have been going on lately, although, I’m not really sure where to start. Can you believe that it’s the middle of March already?

Hmm… I know. I finished my second ever crochet project this week! Again, finding the time to do it has been hard, I think I started it in the middle of February. It’s a Virus Shawl, crocheted in Wollmeise yarn, colour way “True Love”. It’s a love blend of colours, and I remember where I picked it up from and everything [Loop, London, a good couple of years ago]. I picked up a crochet needle from John Lewis on my way back from a course in Milton Keynes [nightmare journey. What should have been something like 2 hours turned into travel chaos]. That was also the first time that I had ever sat in a restaurant and had dinner by myself.
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I got carried away with the crochet and the disaster struck [drama!]. The hook had developed a snag, and not sure when I was going back to John Lewis in Bluewater – the nearest one to me that does the knitting/KnitPro stuff I like – I ordered a replacement from Amazon, and then had to wait about 2 weeks it to turn up. In the mean time I started a new knitting project. When I do have time to sit and chill, I like to keep my hands busy.
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This is the final product:
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It still needs blocking, so am hoping to do that next week. There were mistakes in the project for sure, and there was a definite learning curve. The yarn was just the right size skein, and even had an extra 13g to it! When I weighed it before starting there was 163g! Amazing.

I used a video to help me get through this, at least to begin with. Once the four main repeats were committed to memory it was as easy as pi. I also found a written version of the pattern as well, which was also great for reference.

So that was my big project of the last small while. Other things happened as well:

– I got a new car! I said a sad goodbye to Luna, my Fiat 500 as it was time to move on to something with a bit more power. I got myself a Limited Edition Vauxhall Corsa, which has power and boot space! I’m not entirely sure how Limited they are though as I seem to see them everywhere now! I’ve only had her a couple of weeks and have nearly done 450 miles though. *sad face*
– Alex had to go in for knee surgery, so have been ferrying him around. He’s off work at the moment recovering.
– I had one of my wisdom teeth out this week. My face hurts.
– I went to dinner with Alex and my parents at the new Turkish restaurant in town. It was amazing. I really want to go back there already!
– I started my new role in my new site. That’s what has been taking up most of my time, and eating into my knitting/crafting/reading time. I’ve been doing a lot of late shifts, which I didn’t really do before, but it’s good. It’s busy! And it’s a job so I’m not going to complain too loudly.

I really feel as though there’s more that’s been going on, and I’m sure that there is, it’s just that’s what has sprung to mind so far!

I’ll leave it there for today, and hope to update you all soon on Winter, and my current knitting project!

Take it easy folks,

Kialtho

Awakening – Catrina Burgess

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I received this book free from NetGalley on condition of a fair and honest review. NetGalley seems to be an interesting website so will be requesting more books from there in the future. Todays review is for Awakening, by Catrina Burgess. Here’s the synopsis from GoodReads:

Synopsis

In Awakening, the first installment in the Dark Rituals series, a former healer turns to the Death Arts to seek revenge.

Seventeen-year-old Colina was born a healer. But after a horrific event forces her to leave her clan, she becomes desperate to learn the dark magic of the death dealers, mages who draw their power from the spirits of the dead. Colina was taught to fear and hate death dealers, but becoming one of them is the only way for her to get the revenge she seeks—and the only way for her to survive.

Colina asks a young death dealer named Luke to help her, but he’s reluctant to train her in the Death Arts. Little does she know convincing him to teach her will be the easiest part of her journey. To become a death dealer, Colina will need to undergo three dark rituals, each more terrifying than the last. At the same time, she’ll have to deal with her growing feelings for her mentor. Too bad the first ritual involves him strangling her to death.

As Colina undergoes the trials, she discovers an untapped darkness within herself. If she survives the horrific rituals and gains dark power, what will she become?

The premise of this book was interesting. Girl is in need to help to learn some Dark Arts magic in order to get revenge for the murder of her entire family. She was a Healer, now she wants to lean these “Death Arts” in order to become more powerful and awesome and to kill the people who wronged her. That’s what drew me into requesting this novel.

The thing is I really wanted to like this, but it was clear from the get go that it wasn’t going to gel with me. The writing style was clunky, the characters weren’t relatable, and why wasn’t “death arts” just called dark arts, which is how I read it through the entire book.

Let’s start with Colina, our heroine. Family tragedy occurs – fine – seeks help after apparently being on the run for a few weeks [I think. It’s not entirely clear]. She decides that learning the death arts is the solution to all her problems. Except she knows nothing about death arts, and what it entails.

Luke, our protagonist first accepts, then refuses, then accepts, then refuses…. through a fair amount of the book. In fact, it’s not until his sister is kidnapped that they decide to go through with teaching Colina the magic she desires. Except that it usually takes a year to teach and go through the rituals in calling the dead. So naturally, they’re going to complete them in about three days straight.

Darla, Lukes’ little sister. Described has having hair “that sweeps the floor” or something similar. [Why…?]. She also starts of quite nice, but with the events of the book she changes quite drastically, but I didn’t feel it was all that believable.

That’s pretty much the lowdown on the characters. The evil ones were pretty one dimensional evil characters, with little reverence to the over all plot despite their brutal attack on the family.

What got to me was, as I was reading though, that there was so much emphasis on the rituals, that they were tough and that they would take so long to get through, and that a typical apprenticeship would last a year because it was that brutal to learn. The rituals? One where she would have to “die,” and then bitch about the fact that she had to die, even though she know that she would have to do it. Add in the typical ceremonial creepy cemetery scene, and the transformation into super goth for all of 5 minutes just made for choppy writing.

One of the things that I kept thinking about when I was reading this book was that infamously famous Harry Potter Fanfiction “My Immortal.” It just didn’t gel, and I just kept thinking about “goffik” and all that.

Overall this left me frustrated at the story, at the writing, and made me angry at points as well. I would be unlikely to pick up the next book in the series.

Evenstar Gloves

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I finally finished some knitting! It feels like it’s taken forever to get these gloves finished, which seems ridiculous as I did most of one last night. It’s a pattern I’ve made before as well so I found it even more frustrating that it was taking so long to finish. IMG_1755

These are the Evenstar Gloves, and they were made for a friend at my training store. He was eyeing the pair that I had made myself to so it was a perfect project.

I made these out of some yarn that I was given for Christmas. It’s Cygnet, a brand I haven’t worked with before. Seems to be a pretty good yarn, and I have three balls left to find something to make with. I am toying with the idea of making a Rainbow Dash out of the other blue/purple one, but we’ll have to wait and see. I’m going to make more crochet projects this year. I think the fact that I made a My Little Pony last year proves that I can do it, so it is definitely time to expand on that skill.
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Part of the problem when it came to making these was the first glove I had made was on my 9” circular needles, which I’ve never had a problem with before, until this project. They made my hands really hurt. I persevered through the first glove and decided to switch to magic loop for the second one. Despite the minutest difference in the needle tips the tension was completely different so I had to make a third to match the second. I did feel like a bit of a beginner again, to be perfectly honest. However, it is now done, I just need to find the time to get them to the recipient as I no longer work in the training store – I’ve been moved to my new, permanent store.

It’s a good store, except that one of the staff insulted one of my knit hats because she was annoyed that work that she had done wasn’t recognised as good by the store manager. I was quite hurt at what she said about my hat, but not everyone is going to like/be impressed that I can knit stuff.

It has been a busy few weeks to be fair. I think that’s only set to continue as well. I ordered a[nother] new car, which will be ready to pick up on March 1st. I’m going to be one of the first off the forecourt! I have a limited edition black Corsa coming my way! I love my Fiat 500, but it’s time for a complete change, and the offer was too good to resist! I have to go to Milton Keynes on Thursday, and I have my final review and exam on Monday, so yes… it’s going to be busy!

It would seem that I missed out on blogging about a hood that I made as well! Oh dear, I’ve just not been very organised have I?

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This is probably the best picture I took of it before I gave it a new home – this one I gave to my Mum, who assures me that it’s nice and toasty when she wears it. The pattern came from KnitNow and was one that I had wanted to make for a while. It surprises me that I haven’t blogged about it before as I learnt how to do the Kitchener stitch properly for this and was extremely excited about it! It was really quite seamless. I used some King Cole yarn for this one, although I can’t remember the exact name. I remember being attracted to the sparkly nature of the yarn.

I’m sorry that this blog entry is all over the place! Next time I’ll aim for a bit more structure!

Anyway, that’s all for now folks, happy crafting!

Kialtho

Cress – The Lunar Chronicles [#3] – Marissa Meyer

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The third in The Lunar Chronicle series is Cress, a reimagined version of the Rapunzel story. This time instead of being trapped in a tower with no doors, we have Cress, trapped in a satellite orbiting the Earth, working for the Lunars but wanting to help the rebel Linh Cinder.

Being as though this is the third book in the series, I’ll warn for spoilers because I’m sure that I’ll end up speaking about the events of the book.

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Cress – The Lunar Chronicles [#3] – Marissa Meyer

Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker; unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

I have read  a couple of other books since reading Scarlett, but it was nice jumping back into this universe and reconnecting with the characters. It doesn’t take long. Sadly, actually reading the book took a lot longer than I had wanted as life in general got in the way – so did the knitting…

I also found it harder to maintain my focus on reading this one. It felt as though something dramatic was happening a little too often, like every chapter which is great for plot development, but I did get to a point where it felt like a little too much was going on, especially to Cress who gained her freedom in a rather dramatic way – and gets understandably intimidated about how big and vast everything could be on Earth, when all she’s known was the tiny satellite.

It was great when things started to come together, when the gang were more or less reunited and were able to start to put their plans into action. I liked the little threads that connected all the characters together, things that perhaps weren’t so obvious in the beginning – Dr Erland, for example – and their endings as well.

It wasn’t until I started writing this blog entry that I realised that one of the central plots involving Thorne and Cress relates to the fairytale of Rapunzel so well that it just wasn’t something I had thought about. And, I love it more for that as well!

Things weren’t smooth going for the guys and girls of this instalment, even though at the end the ultimate objective of delaying the wedding was achieved. Of course, this means that all out war is going to happen in the next book – which has skipped the queue and will be read next instead of something else.

I love that this series is full of strong female characters – something that I think is needed. However, in the same sense I feel that Kai wasn’t portrayed as a particularly strong character, folding to Levanna for the wedding. Strong females can be portrayed alongside strong males, but he certainly doesn’t seem that way in this one. Perhaps that will change in Winter… Wolf was also a bit less… driven in this one as well. I would have thought he would have behaved a lot different, with a lot more determination and resolution to get Scarlett back, but instead he was resigned, and almost indifferent to the situation. Jacin is going to be interesting. Is he going to be super strong, or is he just a blank slate as already portrayed?

I look forward to the next book, and am probably going to start reading that as soon as I press “Publish” because this series is just too darn good to sit on a shelf and forget about.

What are you reading at the moment? One of the books on my reading challenge list is to read a book recommended by a friend – so I was thinking… why not ask you, my dear readers, instead?

Regards,

Kialtho

50 Bookish Questions

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I saw this the other day and had to have a little go at it…

1. What was the last book you read?

A Dance With Dragons: After the Feast – George R. R. Martin

2. Was it a good one?

It wasn’t too bad, I found the ending a little disappointing. And want to at least have the option of reading the next book…

3. What made it good?

As with all Martins’ work it’s detailed, immersive and all consuming. It makes it easy to get into, and hard to put down.

4. Would you recommend it to other people?

As a series yes, but only if that person is in for a challenge.

5. How often do you read?

Three or four times a week. I have other hobbies as well, so try to split my time evenly between them, but I am ashamed to say that sometimes my reading takes the backseat – for instance I’m still on “Cress” but really should have finished it by now – I’ve been reading it since January 2nd! I may make that my task for the next few days…

6. Do you like to read?

Yes, I love reading. I think it’s something special, being able to be transported away to other worlds and lives.

7.What was the last bad book you read?

Going though my Goodreads list it would seem that it was “The 100” by Kass Morgan.

8. What made you dislike it?

I didn’t connect to any of the characters, and found it to be clunky and just poorly written. I didn’t enjoy the style, and being a YA book, queue the love triangle, predictable ending and unnecessary cliffhanger.

9. Do you wish to be a writer?

I find this really hard to answer. I did, once upon a time. I’ve done NaNo for most years since 2007, and it would be great to get published, but I also haven’t bothered to edit any of my old stories, or to really write outside of that November period.

10. Has any book every influenced you greatly?

I know this is horribly predictable, but the Harry Potter series. The vast majority of my friends in my life have been made through Harry Potter, whether it was the friends I made through FanFiction or through relatable HP experiences in real life. One of my best friends was in the first Harry Potter film. We’re going to be friends for life because of Harry Potter.

11. Do you read fan fiction?

I used to, not as much any more.

12. Do you write fan fiction?

Again, I used to. I very occasionally update my old works of fanfic, but not very often.

13. What’s your favourite book?

The Book Thief, Marcus Zuzak.

14. What’s your least favourite book?

Is least favourite the bottom of the most loved? Or worst ever? If it’s the first, then the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, maybe. I loved the series, and managed to get a signed copy of the third book. If it’s worst…. again probably The 100.

15. Do you prefer physical books or ready on a device (like a kindle)?

This is a tough question. I love reading full stop, and there’s nothing like the smell of books, but I also love the convenience of my Kindle.

16. When did you learn to read?

… as a child?

17. What is your favourite book you had to read in school?

Probably Of Mice and Men. It’s a great book, and has a lot of meaning behind it.

18. What is your favourite book series?

Harry Potter…

19. Who is your favourite author?

H. G. Wells!

20. What is your favourite genre?

Science fiction/ fantasy/ Young Adult/ horror….

21. Who is your favourite character in a book series?

Luna Lovegood.

22. Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?

Of course… Hogwarts, the future, the past… every read is a journey away.

23.Which book do you wish had a sequel?

The Princess Bride? It’s one of my favourites that’s completely standalone.

24. Which book do you wish DIDN’T have a sequel?

I’m not sure I can answer this. Nothing is immediately springing to mind!

25. How long does it take you to read a book?

Usually a couple of weeks.

26. Do you like when books become movies?

Mostly. Sometimes they are ruined, but it’s always great to see how other people viewed the same world that you did. I used to hate when things were changed, but in reality if it were exactly the same it would be boring.

27. Which book was ruined by its movie adaptation?

The Maze Runner was vastly different to it’s book, but I’m not sure I would say it was ruined. I’m not a huge cinema person, so don’t tend to watch a lot of films.

28. Which movie has done a book justice?

The Hunger Games. I thought that it fleshed out the world immensely.

29. Do you read newspapers?

Sometimes. I try to avoid them.

30: Do you read magazines?

Yes – knitting magazine “Knit Now”, and things like National Geographic.

31. Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?

Magazines.

32. Do you read while in bed?

Yes.

33. Do you read while on the toilet?

No.

34. Do you read while in the car?

Sometimes. Sometimes it can make me feel car sick, so can’t do it for very long.

35. Do you read while in the bath?

Yes – I probably get most of my reading done here…

36. Are you a fast reader?

I consider myself to be a fairly fast reader, but probably in comparison to others maybe not. It’s all relative.

37. Are you a slow reader?

No…?

38. Where is your favourite place to read?

Just somewhere comfortable. It doesn’t have to be a special place or anything like that.

39. Is it hard for you to concentrate while you read?

No, but I don’t like being talked to whilst reading. That really annoys me.

40.Do you need a room to be silent while you read?

No, I like to have music playing.

41. Who gave you your love for reading?

I did – I was always quite bookish when I was kid.

42. What book is next on your list to read?

Possibly a zombie or horror flick. I’ve not quite decided yet, it could even be Winter, the sequel to Cress.

43. When did you start to read chapter books?

I don’t remember – possibly in fourth or fifth year of school, mainly because one of my teachers told me I couldn’t read Treasure Island. I think they doubted my ability to read or something.

44. Who is your favourite children’s book author?

Phillip Pullman affected me a lot as kid. I loved His Dark Materials.

45. Which author would you most want to interview?

None? I don’t know. I’m not a celeb follower or anything like that – the people don’t interest me so much as the work, as awful as that sounds.

46. Which author do you think you’d be friends with?

H.G. Wells I think. We could talk about the future of humanity and socialism.

47.What book have you reread the most?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. So many re-reads!

48. Which books do you consider “classics”?

Probably things like older books and science fiction, like H. G. Wells etc.

49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school?

Books about diversity and inclusion, books that teach children to treat each other with respect, books that teach kids to aim higher and strive for the best.

50. Which books should be banned from all schools?

I don’t believe in banning books to be honest. Fair and balanced discussions should ensure books if they’re considered controversial.

30 Disney Questions

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I saw the “30 Disney Questions” tag on JennyinNeverland’s blog last night and thought I would take a stab at it, more so to see how good my knowledge of Disney was. [Turns out I had to get a list from Wikipedia to tell me the names of some of the films… how embarrassing!]

When I was a kid I hated Disney on principle. The house was covered in Disney, and it was shoved down my throat like no mans business – once I had moved out at 13 I didn’t watch a Disney film for a long time. It wasn’t actually until I went to university did I start enjoying it again. But I don’t watch them all that often. Except Frozen, because it’s just awesome.

1. Favourite Character

There’s just too many to choose from! Elsa, Jack Sparrow, Aladdin, Genie, Ralph…? It’s too hard to pick, so I’ll just leave a selection up there!

2. Favourite Princess

Enchanted’s Giselle. Her transformation from Princess to a “real” person, her ability to deal with the situation she was in with hope and grace all the way through, plus her songs were really neat.

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3. Favourite Heroine

Anna. I know she’s a princess as well, but she took complete responsibility for the actions of Elsa, even though it wasn’t really her fault, and tried to right the wrongs of her sister. Throughout Frozen she accepts the burdens of her sister all the way through to the end when she faces off against Hans.

4. Favourite Prince

I guess Prince Ali counts – he eventually gets made a prince, right?

5. Favourite Hero

Jack Sparrow – I guess he’s more of an anti-hero, but he’s awesome all the same. His drunken, reluctant hero-ing, and determination to get his ship back, and general humour makes him a re-watchable character again and again. The downside to this film was Keira Knightly. [Did I say that?].

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6. Favourite Animal

Dumbo – it was always my Mum’s favourite Disney film, and that definitely rubbed off on me.

7. Favourite Sidekick

Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-it Ralph. She was a spunky character, and despite being glitchy she was positive about the outcome of both her race, and Ralph’s fate.

8. Favourite Villain

Jaffa. Ties in with the fact that my favourite film is Aladdin.

9. Favourite Original Character

Aladdin – it’s my favourite animated Disney, so it’s only fair that the tattered prince takes this place.

10. Favourite Love Song

“How Does She Know?” I know this isn’t quite like “A Whole New World”, but I liked the fact that this song was completely about love, between two characters that weren’t in love at the time. Plus, if you don’t show someone that you love them, how do they know?

11. Favourite Song

“Let It Go”. I know that Frozen is the biggest grossing Disney film to date, and I know that people are also probably fed up with it, but this song, more than many of the others holds a lot of meaning for me. I used to sing it a lot at work because I couldn’t express myself in the way that I wanted. Definitely could related to the “conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show” lyric. Work for me was tough, and channelling this song helped alleviate it a bit. Since I’ve been in my new job I’ve not sung it once. I know this is a silly association for a song – being as though we used to sing a whole variety of Disney songs in the cafe, I think the message is important – be yourself,don’t hide it, and definitely, definitely, just let it go.


12. Favourite Villain Song

How can we have a villain’s song and not mention Hocus Pocus? Hocus Pocus was, and still is, my favourite Halloween film, closely followed by Nightmare Before Christmas. The witches rendition of “I Put A Spell on You” always amuses me, especially as the kids mother was dressed a Madonna at the time.

13. Least Favourite Song

I don’t really recall any songs that I didn’t really like.

14. Favourite Kiss

Beauty and the Beast, I think. I loved that Belle was able to save Beast from himself.

15. The First Movie You Saw

This is a hard one to answer. I know as a kid I saw Bambi in the cinema, and cried my eyes out at the death of Bambi’s mum, but I must have seen others before this. Plus, whilst I know this event happened, I don’t remember actually seeing the film. I would probably have to declare Fantasia as the first, and to this day it’s still a favourite. Those dancing mushrooms always cheered me up!

16. Favourite Classic

I think I’ll say Fantasia here as well!

17. Song That Always Gets Stuck in Your Head

Hakuna Matata, or Prince Ali. We sung these so many times at work that they would get stuck for days at a time.

18. Favourite Pixar Film

A Bugs Life – Princess Atta was awesome, and I had toys of her and Flik

19. Least Favourite Pixar Film

This is a hard question to answer because I don’t really think there are ones that I don’t really like?

20. Favourite Sequel

I don’t think I have one. I’ve been looking through the lists of Disney films, but I can’t say that a favourite one is really jumping out at me. Possibly, at a push, something from the Pirates of the Caribbean series, but I love that more for the music than the films?

21. Overrated Movie

National Treasure, perhaps? I enjoyed them, but they were a bit silly… give me Indiana Jones any day!

22. Underrated Movie

Big Hero 6. I think this was released around the same time as Frozen, or least, it was completely swamped by Frozen.

23. Movie That Makes You Laugh

Wreck-it Ralph comes straight to mind, and Up. Definitely a toss up between the two. Up had Kevin, and the dogs…. you know what? Up wins this round!

24. Movie That Makes You Cry

The Rescuers used to make me cry every time, especially at the point of the song “Don’t cry little one.” I wanted to be rescued as a kid, and would definitely wish upon a star to get there!

25. The Saddest Scene from Your Favourite Movie

Mufasa’s death – when Simba realises what’s happened, and that it was his fault – heartbreaking! There used to be this awesome music video on YouTube that took Nightwish’s “Nemo”, removed all the elements except the vocals and piano, and it was the most haunting, heart wrenching version of that scene that I’ve ever seen. I’m certain that I’ll remember that one forever.

26. Saddest Death

Has to be Mufasa’s, right?

27. Favourite Quote

“When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming!” – Dory, Finding Nemo. “Just Keep Swimming” is definitely a life motto!

28. Favourite Theme Park

I know I went to Orlando as a kid but to be perfectly honest I’ve blocked a lot of my childhood out of my memory [sorry for the brief downer! It got a million times better when I turned 13!] I couldn’t tell you whereI went, or what I did. I’d like to go to the Paris one, to see what it’s like.

29. Favourite Theme Attraction

N/A – I’ve never been to a Disney show. I think.

30. Favourite Theme Park Show

N/A – I’ve never been to a Disney show. I think.

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