Saturday, December 1, 2018

What I Read: November

Posts two days in a row? What is this madness?? :)

November was another good reading month. I read seven books total: four physical books and three audiobooks. Only one reread this month! As always, click on the titles to read my Goodreads reviews.

The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater. (Audiobook, not pictured.) I didn't like this one nearly as much as the first, but I'm still definitely going to continue this series! My feelings about this one are probably because of the fact that I don't like Ronan, and this book focuses on him. Also, Kavinsky is one of the most horrid characters I've ever read and I despise him.

The Forgotten Sisters, by Shannon Hale. I finally read the last book in the Princess Academy series! I wasn't loving it at was just okay. But I ended up really enjoying it, and I loved the end. The first book will always be my favorite, and while I like the other two, they just don't feel necessary to me.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis, by Patti Callahan. (Audiobook, not pictured.) This was so, so good. At the time I was listening to it, it didn't blow me away. But I've been thinking about it ever since I finished it. This is a novel about the relationship between C.S. Lewis and the woman who he would end up marrying, Joy. Lewis is one of my favorite authors, and I thought I knew a decent amount about his personal life, but apparently not? It was just so interesting to me, and even more importantly, it's making me want to reread a ton of Lewis' books. This is one of those audiobooks where I feel like I missed some things, so I definitely want a physical copy so I can reread it.

Worn Stories, by Emily Spivack. A mixed bag, my one real disappointment of the month. Some of the stories were very poignant and interesting, but more of them were just pointless.

The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I'm making progress, you guys! I finally made it through the second LOTR book, for the first time in years. :) It has its dragging, boring moments, but I feel like overall this one was easier to get through than the first one. More excitement and action helps! Read more random thoughts in my review.

Evolving in Monkey Town, by Rachel Held Evans. (Audiobook, not pictured.) I'd read one of this author's other books previously (A Year of Biblical Womanhood) and really enjoyed it. This one wasn't as good, but still interesting. I don't agree with everything she says and she's a lot more liberal than me. But as a memoir it's interesting, and I like how honest she is about questioning difficult parts of Christianity.

The Murder at the Vicarage, by Agatha Christie. As always, so good! This is the first Christie book featuring Miss Marple, who of course is a favorite of mine. It had great humor and good twists, and I really enjoyed it!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Recent knits.

When I started this post, these were recent knits! Now they're well over a month old...

I have been doing a lot of knitting lately, but it's all Christmas gifts that I can't share here quite yet. But back in October I knitted myself some Halloween/fall socks! They're just plain socks, with the heel from Hermione's Everyday Socks. I love this yarn so much! It's from Murray & Co. Wool Goods, and her yarns are just so beautiful. I bought one of her Halloween sock sets, so the main yarn is called Smell My Feet and the contrasting is The Haunted Mansion. (The name of Smell My Feet made me smile because it reminded me of a home video of me and my brother as kids reciting that rhyme after getting home from trick-or-treating, ha.) 

I also knitted this adorable little bunny for my niece's birthday gift! It was so fun and satisfying, if fiddly at times, but it was also way more time consuming than I expected. As in, I was finishing it up the day before her birthday party. I made multiple little outfits to go with it but am having trouble with photo collages here, so be sure to click the link below to see the other clothes. I'm really happy with how it all turned out. And I used leftover yarn for the entire project! So it only cost the price of the pattern plus a couple dollars for stuffing and a tiny bit of tulle and ribbon.

Ravelry project page.

Random little note: I really miss my blog! I use Instagram quite a bit now, but the inconvenience of typing on my phone irritates me, so I feel like I can never say much. Plus I no longer have unlimited internet, so reading blogs and writing posts myself has become more difficult. I'm brainstorming ideas though...I kind of want a fresh blog start, since I lost all of my Photobucket photos last year. Is anyone here even still reading this, ha?

Edit: Apparently the Photobucket pictures are back, just with a big watermark now? I've been a gone a while, I guess! Just noticing. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

What I Read: October

October was a decent reading month. I'm still keeping up with the audiobooks...this month I actually finished more audiobooks than physical books! And four of the six books I read were rereads. As always, click on the titles for my Goodreads reviews. 

Palace of Stone, by Shannon Hale. (Audiobook, not pictured.) This was a reread, in order to finally read the third book in the series. I don't think I enjoyed it quite as much as I did the first time I read it, but it's still really good! I just prefer the first book. I spend a lot of time feeling frustrated with Miri here for being so wishy-washy! 

Heartless, by Marissa Meyer. (Audiobook, not pictured.) Not really sure how I feel about this one. It's no Lunar Chronicles, that's for sure! All of the baking and food made me hungry, and I liked Catherine well enough. It was just so much longer than it needed to be! Not much happened for the longest time, then everything happened at once. The book wasn't bad, just disappointing. The audiobook was excellent though! Great narrator and I loved her voice for the king. 

Lark Rise to Candleford, by Flora Thompson. This was really good! Not much like the show (major characters from the show only have a mention or two, Laura doesn't even go to the post office until 2/3 of the way through the book, etc.). I was worried it would be slow or dry, but it's not, even though not much actually happens, ha! The writing is just really engaging, and I happen to enjoy reading about rural England. :) I'm glad I finally read this, and now I want to rewatch the show!

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson. (Audiobook, pictured.) This was a perfect October book. I was wondering if I'd love this as much as I did when I first read it a couple of years ago, and thankfully I did. It's so creepy and disturbing, but good! It sucks me in every time. 

The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I really do love the Lord of the Rings, but honestly the books are just hard for me to get through! I love the whole feel of it and the characters and humor, but the descriptions are so long. The books are just a little overwhelming, but I still am enjoying rereading them!

The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater. Another audiobook and reread! This was another good October read. It's basically the opposite of anything I can imagine myself enjoying. Even though it does make make me roll my eyes at times, I still enjoy it! Maybe even more the second time around. 

I also had one DNF this month. I've owned this book for years and it seemed like something I would like. But halfway through, I just didn't care about the characters or story so I decided to give up on it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

What I Read: September

September was a great reading month! I liked almost everything I read. I didn't just read the five books pictured...I also read three other books through Hoopla. (It's a free service through my local library, so you can see if your library uses it or something similar.) One was an ebook (though I knew I would hate the format, and I did), and two were audiobooks.

I tried audiobooks a couple of years ago but it never clicked for me. I didn't have a cell phone at the time so I had to listen at my computer, which was not convenient, so it took me months to get through one audiobook. I decided to try them again, this time downloading them to my phone so I can listen while I cook, clean, etc. And I love it! I definitely still prefer real books, but I think this is going to be really useful for rereading books or just listening to ones that I can't get my hands on otherwise. It makes me feel so productive to be "reading" while I'm doing other things. So while I will never actually purchase an audiobook, I'm really glad that I gave them another shot through borrowing them from my library.

As always, click on the titles for my Goodreads reviews!

I'm a Stranger Here Myself, by Bill Bryson. I have to take Bill Bryson in small doses! This book thankfully had much less of his usual profanity and crass humor, so that was a good thing. (It's a collection of articles, so I guess he had to tone that down.) Some of the chapters were really funny, like the one about going to the beach, but a lot of them were mediocre.

A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro. I picked this one up because I'm a Sherlock fan. It held my interest but unfortunately it just wasn't that special or memorable! I also didn't like the bad language or drug use.

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I'm finally rereading the Lord of the Rings again this year! I'm participating in a read along on Instagram and the slower pace is working well for me. I did just reread The Hobbit a couple of times within the last few years, with the movies coming out and all, so it felt like it was dragging a few times. Still love the humor and characters though!

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. I didn't love this book like a lot of people seemed to, but it was really fun! Ridiculous and maybe longer than it needed to be, but still fun and quirky and I liked the pop culture references.

Hunger, by Roxane Gay. (Audiobook, not pictured.) I've heard this author mentioned a lot lately, and this book was the one of hers that I was most likely to pick up. My main feeling about it was that it was really sad! She went through some horrible things and I really thought there was going to be a more conclusive, positive ending, but no...she's still hurting and still struggling. So yes, all very sad. I went into a lot more detail in my review.

Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale. (Audiobook, not pictured.) I've been meaning to reread the first two books in this series for a long time, so I can finally read the third book! I've always loved this book, and this time was no exception. I did have a few pet peeves about the audiobook itself though. (Miri's voice was so young and annoying, and the songs at the beginning of the chapters felt out of place.)

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It; by Gail Carson Levine. (Ebook, not pictured.) Gail Carson Levine has been one of my favorite authors since I was a kid. This book was on my radar but I'd never had the chance to read it. Since it was very short, I decided to read it as an ebook on my phone. I hated the ebook format, but the book itself had its moments. It's a collection of false apology poems, so it's super short. Some of them were very funny and some were mediocre!

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. I liked this one even better than the first one! Probably because Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books. :) It sticks pretty close to the original story but with a supernatural subplot and the Brontes are intertwined, which was pretty clever. Again, I liked the humor and pop culture references (lots of Princess Bride ones!).

Monday, September 3, 2018

What I Read: August

August wasn't as wonderful of a reading month as July, but it was still decent! I read six books, one of which was a reread. I also started a book but gave up on it. As always, click on the titles for my Goodreads reviews.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar: And Six More, by Roald Dahl. Roald Dahl is such a good writer. No matter what he's writing about, he always manages to make you interested! I wasn't really looking forward to this book, but I'd owned it a long time so finally decided to pick it up. Short story collections tend to be a mixed bag, and as I expected, I liked about half of these and didn't care for the rest (more details in my review). Worth picking up if you're a big fan of Roald Dahl!

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd, by Alan Bradley. I liked this one much better than the last feels more like the series usually does. I really enjoyed it, but I did not like the ending! I can't believe that happened.

A Jane Austen Education, by William Deresiewicz. This is another one that's been on my shelves for far too long! Unfortunately I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped to. It's part memoir, and I just found the author to be really annoying most of the time. It was also sort of repetitive and I feel like it could have been much shorter than it was.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling. I finally got around to reading this illustrated edition that I bought last fall! Fall just puts me in the mood to read all the Harry Potter books and watch all the HP movies, so this cozy reread was perfect. The illustrated edition is gorgeous, of course, and this is one of my favorites of the series.

Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby. This book was very strange. I couldn't really decide how I felt about it until it was over! I really liked it though. It's supposed to be magic realism, but it was more like quirky contemporary YA mashed up with fairy tale. It was all over the place, but somehow it worked?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by J.K. Rowling. I never would have expected it, but I actually enjoyed Quidditch through the Ages more than this one! It was just a sort of boring glossary of magical creatures. Still worth a read though, since it's part of the Harry Potter universe. :)

Did not finish: Tracy and Hepburn, by Garson Kanin. I tend to accumulate classic movie star books, and I bought this one at a library sale years ago. I got over 100 pages into but just had no desire to continue! I love Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn together in movies, but this book was just sort of boring and the stories told seemed so insignificant. The book is really about them separately, not as a couple. The only interesting thing I learned was that Spencer Tracy was so against going to the Oscars when he was nominated and sure he was going to lose that he scheduled a hernia surgery for that time so he wouldn't have to. Then he won, ha!