Friday Reads: Every Heart a Doorway

heart-big.jpgEvery Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children)
by Seanan McGuire
(fantasy, paranormal, YA?)

This is an interesting book for several reasons, but (for me) largely because of the premise. Essentially, this book attempts to answer the question, “what happens to Alice when she returns home from Wonderland?” In this story, there is more than one Wonderland, and each Wonderland is different. (They’re not called Wonderland in the story, that’s all me.) Some are Nonsense worlds, and some are Logic worlds. Some are classified as Virtue and others as Wicked. Others have Rhyme or Reason. (And there is a blend of each in the worlds, too. Your Nonsense world can also be Wicked, for instance.)

I really enjoyed reading this book. If it was lacking anything (which I’m not sure it was), it would have been more time spent in the various worlds. Instead, we spend all of the present time on Earth in some unspecified modern time. We do get to see a little of the other worlds in memories or stories the kids tell, but we don’t really get to see into the other worlds. Ms. McGuire has done such a fascinating job describing them through the eyes of their children that it would be fun to see some scenes actually set in these other worlds. (Well, perhaps in a sequel, since I see that Goodreads believes this to be a series.)

Contrary to my expectations prior to starting to read, however, I did not find this book to be scary. Based on the blurb, I thought it would freak me out. It didn’t. Maybe I was too fascinated by the world? Or maybe given the possibilities of a Wicked world I was expecting more than what was written? There are a couple of kinda gruesome scenes. There are murders which happen in this book, after all. But they didn’t strike me as out of place in the world being created in the book, and were only mildly creepy instead of downright scary. (For the record, this did not alter my enjoyment of the book. It fit exactly what the tone of the rest of the story had set up.)

One thing that must be said about this book is that it is short. I don’t know if it is officially a novella, but it feels like either a novella or a short novel. It’s a very intense story, whatever its official length. It is packed with detail and character development and action. (Not action-movie-action, but action all the same.) I look forward to seeing where this world goes, if it is indeed the beginning of a new series.

Ten On Tuesday ~ Summer and Fall

Hi Everyone,
We’re going to shake things up a little bit this week and do two lists of 5 things. First, I want you to write about the 5 best things you did this summer. And then I want you to share 5 things you are looking forward to doing this fall.
Have fun!

So that’s a bit of a different prompt for today. Still very similar to the “normal” 10 on Tuesday prompt, but not quite the same. I’ll be writing this list on the fly as I go, listing the best things I can remember off the top of my head, and I hope I’ll remember some great things about this summer (and some wonderful plans for this fall) as I go.

5 Best Things I Did This Summer (in no particular order)

  1. Tour de Fleece. I always enjoy it when I have the time to spin for the TdF.
  2. Theatre. I enjoy the time I spend working on shows. However, they do take up a lot of time, so there wasn’t really much else that got done this summer.
  3. Started the 101 in 1001 Challenge. It might not seem like something that belongs on this list, but if nothing else it has already helped me figure out what items in my life are the most important to me. I intend to see it though the whole 1001 days, but even if I don’t it has already benefited me.
  4. Celebrated a friend’s 60th birthday. This friend moved about 2 hours away a couple years ago, and I don’t get to see her as often as I like. It’s always nice to have a chance to visit.
  5. Went to a wine crawl! I’ve been wanting to try out some local wineries, and this brought several of them to one place so I could sample them. Now we have a short list of places we want to visit so we can do a full tasting.

5 Things I am Looking Forward to Doing This Fall

  1. A lot more knitting. It’s something I always look forward to with the cooler weather coming up. This year, though, I hope to get caught up on my Geek-A-Long knitting so that I can have a finished blanket to submit for the GAL prize drawing.
  2. NaNoWriMo!!! I have missed writing because I’ve been so busy with other things. This fall I should finally have the time to put energy back into the writing. NaNo couldn’t come at a better time this year.
  3. Baking a pumpkin pie. I may or may not be hosting Thanksgiving dinner, but I will definitely be handling the dessert baking. (I took that over from my grandma when I got a copy of her apple pie recipe.) I’ve never made a pumpkin pie before, though, so this Thanksgiving I’ll be making both a pumpkin and an apple pie.
  4. Drinking spiced cider. So yummy.
  5. Wearing fall clothing. Fall clothes are my favorites to wear. Warm and cozy. Yay!

Friday Reads: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

51XfbTo2iOL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgYou’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
2016 Book Challenge: a book that made me cry

written and narrated by Felicia Day
(memoir, non-fiction)

I didn’t expect that this book would make me cry. But… it did. Towards the end, Felicia gets very personal (okay, so all of the book is personal; I guess I mean she gets more personal with her feelings) and you can tell that some of her stories mean a lot to her. Others are silly stories, and while those are important to have and to share as well, they’re not what made me cry. Perhaps it was the juxtaposition of the two which got to me. Or maybe it was hearing her tell her own story that made me cry. In either case, it was a good cry, the kind that happens when you hear a super-inspirational story or click through one of those Facebook links about the fireman and the rescued kitten.

The book itself is what you’d expect from a memoir. It tells the story of Felicia Day’s life up to this point. I didn’t know anything about her early life, or even her early career before listening to this audiobook. I haven’t watched Buffy or Supernatural or her episodes of Eureka. I know about Felicia Day exclusively from The Guild and Dr. Horrible. However, there were times when I felt like I knew her from my own past.

I think some things in her book are only truly relatable if you grew up at the same approximate time. She talks about her Pegasus page in her sticker book, and about logging on to CompuServe, and having to learn to transition from a card catalog to Internet searches. I don’t know if kids today still have sticker books (though I’m going to remedy that with my niece and nephew) but the other things I just mentioned would get me blank stares instead of any kind of comprehension. And yet I knew exactly what she was talking about, and it brought back memories of my own.

There are other things, however, which anyone can relate to. Stories about fitting in. About doing things that YOU want to do, and not things that you think you are supposed to want to do. About learning what makes you who you are. And those parts I think everyone can enjoy, whether they connect with the gamer or geeky aspects of the book.

An additional note: if you like audiobooks, I highly recommend listening to this one instead of reading it. It was great hearing Felicia do the narrating herself. And I didn’t miss out on the illustrations in the book, either – Audible, at least, had a PDF to download after you bought the book which has the illustrations included. Very nice to have that.

WIP Weds & Sleep Deprivation

I know I often say that these WIP Weds posts will be quick, but today I mean it. (However, I mean it at the start of this post. I may get going and be unable to stop. That happens sometimes too. See? I’m doing it now.)

Anyway, why so short? Because in spite of my best intentions, I haven’t been getting much sleep lately. The show I’m working on is in full swing with rehearsals, and I need to be at each and every rehearsal we run. My day looks pretty crazy: get up, throw clothes on, feed the cat, go to work, hopefully have had time for breakfast but if not eat a protein bar at my desk, try to go for a walk on my lunch break so I get some exercise in, drive home, feed the cat again, feed myself (food at home if I have leftovers but fast food if not), open up the rehearsal space, do my job during rehearsal, drive home, email out rehearsal notes, shower (washing my hair only if there’s time or a desperate need), and fall in bed. Rinse and repeat. Monday through Friday.

So. As you can see that only really leaves the weekends for knitting. And my knitting time is cut even further short when I discover an error several rows back that can’t be easily tinked back to, but must be ripped out. That’s what happened with my Skyrim square.

So, my current progress on the only knitting I’ve worked on this week looks very similar to the last progress picture you saw of it, with a few more rows added to the top in spite of the many more hours I spent working on it. Oh well. It’s correct now, and I won’t have to be sad looking at an error I was too lazy to fix.

Anyway, I love this square. And the yarn. LOVE. (So I guess re-knitting a chunk of it wasn’t too bad.) I’m going to be so happy when I can see what it looks like finished. Oh – and this pictures is a pretty good representation of the color of the contrast yarn. Such pretty. Many sparkly. Wow.

(Side note: I just realized that taken separately, the top half of this square also looks like it could be Maleficent, the most awesome Disney Dragon ever. Hmm.)

Ten On Tuesday ~ Football Foods

The Ten On Tuesday prompt for September 13, 2016 is 10 Favorite Football Foods. As in, your favorite things to eat while watching football.
Have fun!

Um. Favorite foods to eat while watching football? I only watch – at most – one game a year, and that’s only when our friends have a Superbowl party. And even then, we’re only kinda watching the game. But I guess I can list my favorite foods to eat at that party. That should count.

  1. Meatballs. You know, the Crock Pot version with the BBQ sauce.
  2. Chips and dip. Preferably the French Onion kind of dip with Ruffles.
  3. Cheeseburgers. Home grilled. Yum.
  4. Cake! Our friends’ party is a potluck, and it’s a tradition that one other couple always brings a cake. Usually decorated in one football them or another. (It’s been a football field, a football itself… you get the idea.)
  5. Veggies with ranch dip. Have to get the vegetables in somewhere.
  6. Nachos! Another Crock Pot favorite.
  7. Pigs in a Blanket. Sometimes I remember to make these for the potluck, and sometimes someone else does, but they’re always tasty whenever someone remembers them.
  8. Chocolate! Someone usually brings a box of Sees or Godiva. (Sometimes it’s me.)
  9. Hot dogs. Not quite as preferred as the cheeseburgers, but also tasty.
  10. Cookies! Again, someone always brings cookies. Usually chocolate chip, though sometimes other flavors. And I always eat them. Because cookies.

Have a great day!

Friday Reads ~ Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale

tithe-original-coverTithe: A Modern Faerie Tale
2016 Book Challenge: a book set in high school
by Holly Black
(fantasy, YA)

Okay. So this isn’t exactly set in high school, but kinda. There’s a scene at a high school, the main character and all her friends are high school age, and a big fuss is made over the main character dropping out (even though it happens before this book starts), so I’m counting it.

I picked this book up because it sounded neat. A modern faerie tale? Yes please! Plus, I had read Holly’s Spiderwick Chronicles and enjoyed them, so I figured this one was a good choice. And I was right! I enjoyed reading it, and found myself caught up in the character development and plotlines. There were a few twists, too. Some of them I saw coming, others I did not.

To be honest, when I first started reading the book I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of it. It starts (after the opening scenes, anyway) with our school-aged heroine out past the time when her grandmother thinks she should be in bed, climbing into abandoned buildings, smoking, and getting accosted by the boyfriend of her best friend. (Nothing too bad, but he makes unwanted advances.) While I will grant you that I was a prude in high school (and like it or not some of that sticks around later in life) I wasn’t sure that this kind of heroine was someone I wanted to read a whole book about. However, I’m glad I kept going. While Kaye does continue to behave consistently with the way she started the book, her actions are tempered a bit by what happens in the land of faerie and what she finds out.

Without going into spoiler territory, I will say that Kaye does some dumb things. A few of them are REALLY dumb things. Not unexpected for a teenager, but there were some things I rolled my eyes at. (Again, not unexpected for a teenager.) It was completely believable behavior, mind. I can’t say I wouldn’t have behaved similarly at her age. I also have to say that her faerie friends acted how I would expect faeries to act. (Her faerie enemies did, as well.) It was interesting to see how her human friends and family acted and reacted to the faeries, and the character interactions are what makes me curious about the rest of the series.

Is this one worth reading? Yes. It won’t be for everyone, because some people won’t be able to get past Kaye’s or her mother’s initial actions, or be able to accept faeries as something other than cute, happy, friendly beings. However, if it sounds like an interesting book and you’re okay with the more traditional take on faeries you should certainly give it a try.

Quick WIP

I was listening to the radio today (which is Tuesday, since I usually write these blog posts the day before they’re scheduled to get posted) and Devo’s “Whip It” came on. I no longer remember who it was, but one of the knit-bloggers I used to follow posted a really funny version of “Whip It” done as “WIP it” and using knitting terminology instead of the real lyrics. It was really funny, but I can’t remember who it was. I know I’ve linked back to her post in one of my prior WIP Weds posts, but seeing as I have been blogging for probably 12-14 years and over the span of 3 or so host sites (remember Live Journal anyone?) I don’t know how easy it will be to find the link.

In any case, all that was to say that the radio reminded me to post today’s WIP Weds post!

It seems that all of my WIP posts lately have been about the 2016 Geek-A-Long. Well, that makes sense, since that has been the bulk of my knitting. Since last week, I have finished the Carmen Sandiego square…

GAL Square: Carmen Sandiego

… and started the Skyrim square!

(The picture makes this one look more orange than it is. It’s more peachy than orangish.)

I was really happy on the timing of this one, since Skyrim is one of my favorite games and it just worked out that the pattern was released shortly before I cast off the prior square, and so I didn’t have to wait at all before casting on Skyrim. Sometimes it’s the little things that make you happiest. Have a great rest of the week!