Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review - A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of WitchesA Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Finally finished!  I liked the first couple chapters and the last few chapters.  Everything else in between was just filler.  It would be a great book if you have absolutely no imagination at all because every detail is described ad nauseum!  I have enjoyed tomes in the past and with them, was surprised to find myself at the end of 500+ pages, as quickly as they moved along.  Not so with this one.  I found myself skipping entire pages that were irrelevant just to struggle to the end.  While I think I liked the story itself there was no reason for it to be so long.  Then to just stop it to be forced to read another tome of 584 pages made me want to scream!  Sorry Deborah, I'll just have to live with never knowing what happened to your colorful characters.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review - Thunder Bay (Cork O'Conner Series #7) by William Kent Krueger

Thunder Bay (Cork O'Connor, #7)Thunder Bay by William Kent Krueger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've listened to the previous six books in this series and wondered if I liked them because of the stories or because David Chandler was reading them. When I first heard Buck Schirner begin the narration, I was admittedly disappointed. I'd become so familiar with Cork O'Conner's voice (via David) it was almost sad to hear someone else speaking for him. But I do love the characters, the plots, the mysteries and the scenery of this series so I kept listening. I did warm up to Buck's voice and felt he gave a wonderful performance, especially the part where he was speaking as a young Henry Maloux.

Krueger did not disappoint in writing another captivating book. I especially liked this one because it had little to do with Cork's life (hasn't that poor man been through enough?) and focused on the life of Henry, one of my favorite characters since book #1.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Review - The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

The Heretic's DaughterThe Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a longgg book and at times was slow moving, but that is exactly what was needed to describe how quickly a normal (for the times) life can suddenly spiral out of control fueled solely by fear. Of course I'm familiar with the Salem Witch Trials but had no idea what really happened. The lengthy descriptions of what led to the trials and what happened after was so perfectly delivered it is hard to imagine how unbelievably cruel humans can be to each other.

I wish I could just say, "Thank goodness it's fiction and that really could not have happened!" and forget it. But this is one of those books that delivers such a historical message, it has made me much more interested in that period if only in hopes that I discover it was far more exaggerated than the truth. Sadly, I don't believe that will be the case.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Curious Reveries - Facebook

As I was scrolling down my Facebook Newsfeed not too long ago, it occurred to me that everyone's feed looks totally different from anyone else's based on their friends, likes, interests and what they choose to hide or not hide. 

Mine usually has a ton of pics of my friends kids and milestones from first smile to a photo of an upcoming graduation announcement.  There are a lot of status updates that start with "5 years ago today..." and "I can't believe my baby is getting a drivers license today!", or something similar.

There are a lot of pet related posts on my feed as well.  I too often have to post words of sympathy to a friend whose status is a picture of a beloved pet who crossed the rainbow bridge that day.  There are shared posts of people passing on a post of a lost dog in Okemos, MI or a sweet kitty in Nashville, TN that needs a home.  And I really never get tired of the funny pictures people share of their pets or even the silly ones from the internet.  LOL Cat still cracks me up!

Honestly, I don't have any political stuff in my feed because I'm not interested in social media debate (or bashing) so I end up hiding that friend's updates from my feed.  Sadly, that same friend might have something to say that I am interested in but I'll only notice it if a mutual friend shares it on their timeline.  Same thing about religious posts.  

Lately, my feed has a bunch of activity about "first 5k" or similar.  Apparently, my friends of a certain age, all at once decided to start walking/running and over the course of 12 months have been training for, and completing, various k's, 1/2 marathons, and multi-marathons.  Of course this mishmash of friends from different times and places in my life would have no way of knowing that, since they are completely unconnected outside of my feed, and yet, they all did it together.  Collectively, I'm proud of them.  I did walk my first 5k last week for a Heart Walk and yes, I did update my status to let them know.

It makes me feel better that in today's transparent world, packed with information and online friends, we're all still individuals.  At least on our own Timelines.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book Review: The Beach Trees by Karen White

The Beach TreesThe Beach Trees by Karen White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An intriguing enough story with a lot of twists. Maybe because I was forced to read it, put it down for awhile and come back, but it really did jump all over the place and I don't mean the two time frames with two protagonists. I don't feel the characters were strongly developed over the course of the book so when then answers finally emerged, I had to pause to recall who was who and how they were involved. To me, the most interesting part was the author's real life explanation at the end of the book of the Katrina Trees and how her other books (the Tradd Street series, which I love) ended up in Charleston instead of New Orleans.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"What did I think?", Goodreads asks. I'm almost dumbfounded for words. First my review, then, I am forced to react to some of the reviews on Goodreads (which I never do and unless it's one of my friends, I don't even read what other people think because frankly, I don't care.)

What else is there to write about in this world on the tragic story of a young person suffering from a terminal illness?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Review: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

The Kitchen HouseThe Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a big fan of historical fiction, especially the Antebellum era, there were times when I felt this might not have reached it's potential of genuine sentiment. However, over the course of the book, and certainly by the end, I came to better understand the characters and their place in the story. There were a lot of opportunities for the characters to grow even more,

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rav Games 2014

There certainly wasn't as much mainstream public hoopla about these Olympic style fiber games as there was before the London games but there was drama on Ravelry behind the scenes. I won't go into it, because frankly, I stopped reading all the comments and opinions when the dislike button numbers far exceeded the other buttons combined on what seemed like every post.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Review ~ Brightest Kind of Darkness

Brightest Kind of Darkness (Brightest Kind of Darkness, #1)Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For a YA book, it was ok. But doesn't anyone just write one story anymore? Does everything have to be part of series? Even that's not so bad if the current storyline is finished up and a new issue with the same characters is created in the next book. Not with this. I noticed I was only ten or so pages from the end and I knew there was no way even one of the ends was going to be tied up before I finished.

To the writers that do this (A Discovery of Witches) comes immediately to mind, I will buy your next book if the first one is good enough. I won't buy it if you just stop writing so the reader has to buy the next one to see how the first ends. In most cases, I'm not that interested and there are plenty of other writers out there that know how to keep good characters and stories alive over a series.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Just, why? Why do you do it?

I recently saw a blog article titled "Why Bother Knitting a Scarf?".  It was a short article that summed up a few of the reasons a lot of knitters would nod their heads in agreement to.  It had a couple points that were socially conscious, supporting local small businesses (like indie dyers and local yarn stores) and touched on the emotional and health benefits.  And I thought, that's a nice piece.  But is that really why?

I get asked a variation of that question frequently.  Sometimes it's my dear husband tentatively posing it when I've ripped something out after starting it three times and thrown the mess of yarn across the room.  Sometimes, I'm asked that question while knitting in a waiting room or while my daughter is in her ballet class.  Most non-knitters don't know that a really good sock yarn is not inexpensive so they aren't even aware that a comment such as "You know you can buy a whole bag of socks at Walmart for that cheap?" is way off base.  Ha!  If only I could get a skein of Happy Feet or Socks That Rock for the price of a bag of Walmart socks!

So why?  For me it's much simpler and more complicated than a couple bullet points.  But in the end, the reason I bother with the hassles that go into finding the perfect pattern for the perfect yarn, or getting gauge, or learning a new cast-on, or finally finishing a WIP is just this:  "Because I can!"

This is one of the new techniques I recently learned.  Arm knitting!  It was loosely based on Simply Maggie's Arm Knitted Infinity Cowl.  My daughter says it looks like a hammock and it is a little bulky for down south, but it was fun.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Through a Glass Darkly" ~ by Karleen Koen

I got this book on Free Nook Book Friday from Barnes and Noble and because I had nothing else going on, started reading it.  A little daunted when I saw it was 726 pages (I was really just looking for a light read) I scrolled to the first page and dove in.  Literally.  I could not put this down.

Unfortunately, reviews of the second book aren't that good so I probably won't buy it.  But, if it comes up at the library, I will despite the reviews.