Friday, December 2, 2016

What I Read: November


Like my "spooky reads" in October, I also had a bit of a theme with my reading this past month. Lesley of Words of a Reader, one of my favorite bookish YouTube channels, hosted a children's literature month in November. I didn't vow to only read kids' books the entire month, but I did go through my shelves and pull out a lot of middle grade novels that I've been meaning to read. I love children's books, so it was a lot of fun and nice to focus on them this month. (But now I'm ready to take a break from themed reading for a while, ha.) As always, click on the titles for my Goodreads reviews.

Halloween Party, by Agatha Christie. This was another Halloween read that I didn't finish until the first day of November. The mystery in this one was more complicated than I expected! I really enjoyed it. It seemed a little slow in spots, but the end was very tense and exciting, so it made up for that.

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. I had such a weird experience with this book. More details in my review if you're interested, but basically I listened to the first half of it months ago as an audiobook, then physically read the second half. And I didn't really like it. I don't know what's wrong with me, I feel like I should love Neil Gaiman's books but so far I just don't.

Flora & Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo. This book was just adorable. Kate DiCamillo's books are always lovely, but usually in a sad way. This one was quirky and charming, and the ending was so sweet. Who knew that poetry written by a squirrel could be so moving? (I know that sounds a little random, but that's the book in a nutshell. Pun intended.)

Destiny, Rewritten, by Kathryn Fitzmaurice. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Like Flora & Ulysses, it was also charming and full of quirky characters, but in a different way. I liked how bookish it was, and at times it reminded me of Natalie Lloyd's books.

Juniper Berry, by M.P. Kozlowsky. This one was a little disappointing. There were some very memorable aspects, because they were both creepy and creative, but I felt like it wrapped up too quickly. Especially because the majority of the book was slower paced.

The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan. This book was a lot of fun! I'd always heard good things about it, and I'm glad that it lived up to them. I know almost nothing about Greek mythology, but that wasn't a problem at all. I loved how creatively and seamlessly the gods and characters from mythology were incorporated into the modern day setting. Looking forward to reading the rest of this series!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. This memoir was okay, about what I expected. I'm not a fan of Mindy Kaling's (not that I'm not a fan, I'm just not really familiar with her work), but for some reason I've always wanted to read this book. Some parts were funny, and I enjoyed the more personal essays about relationships and body image and friendship more than the ones about her career. I liked it enough that I'll be reading her second memoir soon.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cozy and thankful.

 
This is my absolute favorite time of the year, when it's still fall but heading into the Christmas season. Everything is so cozy. The crunch of leaves, and the smell of woodsmoke outside and our Christmas tree inside, and the warmth of flickering candles, I wish I could bottle it all up. Then I could take it out and enjoy it during the summer when it's so hot and humid that I doubt I'll ever be able to wear wool again.

And this year is even better, because I have Kenny to share it with. It was around this time last year that we started talking a little more and getting to know each other, and by the end of next month we'll have been dating a year. I still can't wrap my mind around it! :) I am so very happy, and I don't know how I got this blessed. I'm incredibly thankful for him.

I know things have been quiet around here lately, but it's hard to share what I'm making when it's all Christmas gifts. But hopefully I'll be done with those in the next few weeks. Stella's blue sweater is finished, just waiting for the buttons. (Speaking of my niece, how adorable is she?) I'm down to my last couple of gifts, and it's not even December quite yet, so I'm feeling good about that. :) I started spinning some new fall-colored fiber the other week, and I love how it's turning out. It was going to be a skein to sell, but that orange and gray look so nice together that I'll probably have to keep it for myself.

I finally bought an essential oil diffuser, and I've really been enjoying it! In the fall and winter, I light candles almost every evening. But I can turn my diffuser on in the morning and it makes my room smell amazing, plus acts like a humidifier. (And of course there are health benefits to diffusing different essential oils, too.) I've had orange and cinnamon leaf oils in there lately, and it smells like fall. I bought this inexpensive one from Amazon, and despite how little water it holds, it runs a surprisingly long time.

I also finally read the first Percy Jackson book. I've been hearing about this series for years, and of course I see Rick Riordan's books everywhere. (That man seems to release a new book every month or two!) I kept hearing comparisons to Harry Potter, which of course intrigued me. It was such a fun read! I enjoyed it more than I expected to, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series sometime soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Spinning: local Rambouillet fiber.


This is the most recent yarn I spun. I bought the fiber at the Olde Liberty Fibre Faire back in the spring, and it's 100% Rambouillet from a somewhat local farm.

I love spinning Rambouillet and these colors, a rusty brown/orange and turquoise, looked nice together in fiber form. But overall spinning this fiber wasn't as enjoyable as I anticipated. The fiber had lots of neps, so I had to take the time to pick out little bits as I spun. Plus the blue, which was much brighter before I soaked the finished yarn, wasn't dyed very well. There were lots of pieces of blue dye left in the fiber, so I also had to pick those out and my fingers turned blue from spinning.

Even though I wasn't completely satisfied with it, the finished yarn was still decently soft and lofty in a rustic way. And someone bought it at the holiday bazaar this past weekend, so that's a good sign. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Yarn Along


Reading: Flora & Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo. I love her books, even though they usually make me cry. (The Tiger Rising? Very good, but I have vivid memories of reading that book in one sitting, curled up in a chair sobbing.) This one, so far, is lighter than some of her others and is making me smile, even though it's not an absolute favorite.

Knitting: A sweater for my niece for Christmas. It's another Granny's Favourite, which I made her previously two years ago. Stella is still small, three years old, so it's still very easy for me to knit her a sweater each Christmas. With her curly blond hair and love for Frozen and Cinderella, I think this light teal blue color will be perfect. :)

{Yarn Along is a weekly link up hosted by Ginny where you can share what you've been knitting and reading.}

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What I Read: October


October was a decent reading month. Nothing too amazing, but nothing bad either. I actually got around to all of the books on my spooky reads list except one! (I'm still reading Halloween Party so even though I'll probably finish it today, it didn't make October's list.) As usual, click on the book titles to read my Goodreads reviews.

French Milk, by Lucy Knisley. I love travel memoirs, but this one was a little disappointing. It's a graphic novel style memoir, but it's more of a diary than anything: pages of what they ate and where they went. If you've never been there and don't really know what she's talking about, it doesn't mean much.

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, by Alan Bradley. I enjoy this series so much...it's just begging to be made into a BBC mini-series. This one felt a little different, with the focus on the de Luce family and Flavia and her mother's mysterious past. The things that were revealed didn't really surprise me, but I'm very curious to see how it will carry over into future books.

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, by Claire Legrand. It's far from the best middle grade book I've ever read, but this one was a perfect October read. It was creepier (and quite a bit grosser) than I expected, and I would have loved reading it as a kid. It was a bit longer than was necessary...things were drawn out at times.

Bed-Knob and Broomstick, by Mary Norton. I'd had this book since elementary school, and I finally got around to reading it. It was okay, but nothing special. Even though it was very short, it still didn't hold my attention. I would like to try reading The Borrowers at some point, though.

Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen. I'm so glad I finally got around to rereading Northanger Abbey! I enjoyed it so much. It was a lot more Austen-ish than I remembered, and it made me smile. I need to reread at least a couple of her novels each year. Also, I had forgotten how incredibly annoying, simpering, and obnoxious Isabella Thorpe is. She might just be one of my least favorite characters ever.

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1, compiled by hitRECord and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I randomly stumbled across this book on Book Outlet (a dangerous place to browse) and thought it looked cute. It really is a tiny book...it only took a few minutes to read. An interesting concept, but not as amazing as I'd hoped.