52 Books 2014: Week 35

Push (The Game #2)
by Eve Silver
narrated by Amy Rubinate

So it seems that I have missed adding this book to my “books I’ve read” list and neglected to write a review for it when I first finished the book. I wonder if that’s because I was so caught up in PUSH that I lost track of who I had and hadn’t told about it.

Anyway, I did read (listen to) it and loved it. Except the ending, which has a bit of a cliffhanger. However, if you read book 1 (RUSH) and weren’t prepared for another cliffhanger in book 2, then you were just being silly. Because just as there is a cliffhanger at the end of book 1, there is a cliffhanger at the end of book 2. I won’t spoil either of the two for you, since I really do think that any readers of mine would enjoy this series (at least as much of it as has been published to date; I can’t speak for future books since I haven’t read them) and I want to give you the chance to read them for yourself. However, I will tell you that book 2 does resolve the cliffhanger for book 1. Nicely, too, though it adds in some more questions than it solves.

Isn’t that, though, one mark of a good story? To answer questions with yet more questions, without it seeming like a cheat? And this book (series) doesn’t seem like a cheat at all. I’ve really enjoyed it so far, and am anxiously awaiting book 3. I’ve read other books by Eve Silver, but the others haven’t drawn me in as completely as this one. (I did really enjoy DRIVEN, though, if anyone’s looking for a rec of one of Eve’s more adult books. Because in comparison, The Game series is a YA series for sure.)

Another mark of a good story (and author!) is that it (she) can keep you guessing about the mysteries. Things have happened in this series that I expected to go one way, and they went another. It’s a wonderful rollercoaster of events and emotions that seems so realistic I’m sometimes surprised that I don’t have a glowing health meter on a bracelet on my wrist. (I’m glad of this, but still. Nicely done.)

And the narration meshes with the story that you’d think Amy Rubinate is actually living it out as she reads. She does a great job of conveying the characters’ emotions and fears and hopes as she reads. I really want to find more books she has narrated and listen to them because she’s done such a good job with these.

52 Books 2014: Week 34

The White Dragon (Dragonriders of Pern #3)
by Anne McCaffrey
(fantasy, dragons)

If you consider the Dragonriders of Pern to be a trilogy, then this is the conclusion to that trilogy. It is not, however, the conclusion to the larger series (which I feel also includes the Harper Hall trilogy and ALL THE WEYRS OF PERN). However, those other books don’t always focus on the dragonRIDERS as much as all of the people of Pern, so calling THE WHITE DRAGON the third book in the trilogy is not a bad idea.

Of the three books in the trilogy, I think this one is the best written. It follows Jaxom more exclusively than any of the other books followed any one person, so it is able to be more character-centric the way I like my books. Granted, it does still switch POV as needed to tell the story, and the characters from the first two books are still very much in evidence.

It really does amuse me to compare my reading comprehension of today with that of the first time I read this series. There are so many more things that I pick up on than I did then. The politics, the sexual undertones, the diplomacy… I understood it all at one level on my first read-through, but I understand it on so many more levels now. I wonder what new experiences I’ll bring to this story when I re-read it again (and again) in the decades to come?

And on a final note, when I re-read THE WHITE DRAGON this time, I had to buy a new copy before I did so. The prior version I had (which may or may not be the very first copy of it my parents bought long ago… I’m not sure) fell apart the last time that Mr. Wyrm re-read it. (And can I say how much I love the fact that the man I married also loves books the way I do? He reads at least as many books per year as I do, if not more. And he re-reads, and we enjoy some of the same books. So wonderful. I am so lucky that he is both a reader and a Disney Geek like me.) So, I had to buy a new copy, and luckily my favorite local bookstore had it on hand. You can never be sure with older books, even ones that are still as popular as the Pern series.

Speaking of my favorite local bookstore, they are currently in money troubles (gee thanks, Amazon… though I do admit that I like the mail order giant for some things, too). If you have the time to look, here’s a link to their Indiegogo fundraiser page. If you have the money to donate, I’m sure they’d appreciate that. But even just spreading the word is good. Or, how about this: next time you want to buy a book, go to your local store instead of Amazon. Yeah, you might have to drive to the store instead of having the book driven to you, but just think: you can be reading it TODAY instead of having to wait for the drones to drop it on your doorstep.

Christmas WIP!

It’s August… and you know what that means! Yup – time to start knitting Christmas gifts!

Since this is a gift, I will not be going into much detail (or posting many more pictures) until late December. I don’t think the recipient reads the blog, but just in case… All you’re getting for now is this picture.

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Happy Thursday, everyone!

From Yak To Cowl

Oooh, lookie here! A finished object!

Cowl FO

This is the Edelweiss Neckwarmer by Susanna IC. It’s meant to be done as a scarf-type neckwarmer, with buttons to hold it closed. I decided I wanted to seam it up and have it as a cowl. (I’m not 100% sure now that was the right idea, but we’ll have to wait for this fall/winter to be sure.)

I knit this cowl from yarn I spun during the 2014 Tour De Fleece. From start to finish (counting the spinning) this is one of the fastest projects I have ever made. It helps that the fiber was so enticing. It’s sparkly! And made up of so many different colors and fibers! In addition to the (sheep) wool, there are sparkly bits and even some yak wool. I can’t help but be intrigued by it. I will be buying more fiber from BohoKnitterChic, because this one was so fun to work with.

Cowl FO

The pattern was pretty simple, too. It was easy enough to memorize; the hardest part was remembering which row I ended on when I put the knitting down for a while. I got in the habit of stopping mid-row to make it easier to remember where I was. (NOT something I was taught to do when I learned how to knit… but it worked well enough for this project.)

Would I knit another of these cowls? Perhaps. If I had a small skein of something yummy that I wanted to show off, for instance. But I would probably knit it as a scarf-type neckwarmer as intended, to compare the difference between the way it was written and the slight mod I made to it.

Cowl FO

Here are the specs (and a link to my Ravelry project page):

PATTERN: Edelweiss Neckwarmer
DESIGNER: Susanna IC
YARN: “May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor” rolags from BohoKnitterChic, spun into a thick/thin yarn by yours truly
NEEDLES: US 6
START & END DATES: July 12, 2014 to August 1, 2014
MODS: Only one: after knitting this as written, I seamed up the edge instead of sewing on buttons.

52 Books 2014: Week 33

Dragonquest (Dragonriders of Pern #2)
by Anne McCaffrey
(fantasy, dragons)

This second book in the Dragonriders of Pern series is, I feel, equally as good as the first. It has all the same style drama and romance and humor, just sometimes focused on different characters. It follows the first book’s plot to a logical place – though not a conclusion. This series does have (in my opinion) a conclusion (even though books are still being written in the world, I feel they are a separate series), and that is still a long time coming. That said, you’re not left with an annoying cliffhanger: the book wraps itself up nicely, even while leaving series items obvious for future books.

In some respects I’ve always like this book more than the first. I think part of that is because the dragon-speak is consistent throughout. The first book suffers from – if anything – a discrepancy in how the dragons talked in McCaffrey’s original short story, and how their speech evolved later when the story became a book. (It went from descriptions of what they said, to italicized dialogue.) This isn’t anything that harms the first book, but it is noticeable. And when you like the dragons’ lines as much as the humans’, as I do, you miss that style in the first bit of the first book.

It’s also probable that I enjoyed DRAGONQUEST more than DRAGONFLIGHT when I was younger because I’ve always associated more with Brekke than any of the characters in Pern. (I wanted to associate with Menolly, but always felt she was more musically talented than I. And don’t argue, Dad: I may have a good voice and have been decent on the piano when I was taking lessons, but that’s more learned skill than raw talent.) Anyway, since Brekke features heavily in this second book in the series, it’s logical that I would like it.

Anyway, like DRAGONFLIGHT, if you are a lover of epic fantasy and dragons and haven’t read this series, you need to. It is a classic, and remains as timely today as it was when it was written.

Ten On Tuesday ~ Annuals

Today’s Ten On Tuesday prompt is “10 Things You Only Do Once A Year, But You Wish You Could Do Them More Often.” Wow. That’s a long and complicated prompt. I’m not sure I can successfully answer it, either. There aren’t many things that I am limited to doing once a year. I suspect that part of that is because I don’t have kids, and so if Mr. Wyrm and I want to go to one Disney resort or another, we only have to worry about our work schedules and budget, not anyone school schedule. Hmm. I’ll take a stab at it, though. I may yet find ten things…

1. Visit Mr. Wyrm’s family. I don’t think we’ve even done yearly every year we’ve been together. Most years, but I’m pretty sure we’ve been visiting (or visited) slightly less than yearly.

2. Get dressed up (in costume). I could dress up for Halloween more than once per year. Different parties on different days, for instance. But at this point, I’m not. Sometimes I don’t even dress up the once.

3. Go on a BIG Disney trip. “Big” being a cruise, or special tour, or extended trip to Walt Disney World. But they take up more vacation than I have to do twice, and that’s not even considering the expense…

4. Make mulled cider. Only doing this one once a year is entirely my own fault. I could do it as often as I wanted. But it’s a lot of work to set up, so I usually don’t bother very often. Especially since Trader Joe’s has a quite acceptable pre-made version. (Not quite as good, but the best I’ve found bottled.)

5. Visit Disneyland at Christmastime. I’m glad we do get the one visit a year (usually). But this is one thing I’m jealous of the LA locals for.

6. Visit Disneyland at Halloweentime. Ditto the above.

Hmm. That’s about all I can come up with. Oh – here’s one new one:

7. Visit with my whole S’n’B. Our main Stitch ‘n’ Bitch coordinator moved out of town, and since we normally gather at her house, our meeting place moved out of town too. We’re planning a twice yearly get-together (summer & winter) but so far we’ve only had one, and I can already tell that I’m going to want more visits than we’re going to have.

However, that’s about it now. As I said, I generally don’t let things stop me from doing what I want to do. Have a great week, everyone!