Friday Reads ~ in which the accidental blog vacation is over (I think)

One good thing about a blog vacation is it means I can tell you about having finished a LOT of books without having to change my reading habits. So, we’ll start right off with the list!

WHAT I READ:

I finished Kay Finch’s Black Cat Crossing. I enjoyed this, but I enjoyed it more for the cat shenanigans than the cozy mystery. I certainly didn’t care about the main character’s aunt getting accused of murder. (full review is here)

I also finished Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper by Lazette Gifford. This was a silly book. But it also had some more serious points, and it touched on real issues in its lighthearted way.

I also finished the first book I picked up specifically because it was a LitRPG book and I was curious about the official genre: Videogame Plotline Tester by Michael Atamanaov. It was… NOT a fun book. It was, in many ways, tedious. I finished it partly in the hopes that it would get better (it wasn’t that long) and partly because I enjoyed the game inside the book. Reading the book was kinda like watching someone play the game, though the descriptions weren’t particularly vivid. I will not be going back to this series or author. If this is “great LitRPG” as some reviewers claimed, I may find myself avoiding the genre entirely. (For the record, a huge reason why I tried the official genre is because I enjoyed Niven’s Dream Park many years ago and Hayes’ NPCs more recently. Both of those books have been called LitRPG too, though both of those are first and foremost GOOD BOOKS. Makes a difference.) (full review is here)

I also finished Bellwether by Connie Willis. (Thank you to Chris for the recommendation.) It was a fascinating book in several ways — for one, it’s always nice for a knitter to read a book that has sheep in it, and I learned stuff about sheep I never knew. For another, this is billed as a science fiction book, but it would be better described as a fiction book about science. I don’t think I’ve run into one of those before. And for another, I enjoyed the way it was written and the way each chapter had a paragraph about a prior fad as introduction. Fun stuff. (full review is here)

And I also finished Going Rogue by Drew Hayes. (#3 in the series started by NPCs and continued in Split the Party.) I am really loving this series. I really want to see where the story goes from here. There’s so much going on in Book 3 that the next one could go in so many directions. This is definitely my favorite series that I’ve read in 2017 to date.

WHAT I’M READING:

Soul Ink (Grimm Agency #1.5) by J.C. Nelson is on my ereader at the moment. I enjoyed the first book (Free Agent) so I thought I’d try the short which followed it and see if I liked that enough to continue with the series. (I read the first book long enough ago that I no longer remember if I planned to read book 2 or not.) So far, I’m enjoying it, but still haven’t decided about book 2. That tells me that book 2 will be on my TBR list, but not terribly high up in priority.

My current audio book is The Search for Exoplanets (a Great Courses lecture series) by Joshua Winn. I haven’t gotten too far into it yet, but this aspect of astronomy is something that has fascinated me for a while, so I’m really curious to see where it goes.

And I just started The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files #1) by Charles Stross (also recommended by Chris). It’s got a great premise and good reviews, so I have hopes that I’ll enjoy this one. (Also, it’s a library book, so I can’t take too long reading it.)

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

Depending on whether or not I’ve temporarily had enough science after this audio book, I’ll either listen one of the two Great Courses lecture series by Neil deGrasse Tyson I picked up earlier this week (one of them was the Audible Daily Deal) or… something else. I’m thinking that Gigi Pandian’s The Accidental Alchemist will be my next fiction audio book. (Just not sure if I’ll be going back to fiction after this non-fiction, or not.)

My next paper book will be one of the other library books I picked up: No Cats Allowed (Cat in the Stacks #4) by Miranda James or Curiosity Thrilled the Cat (Magical Cats Mystery #1) by Sofie Kelly. I’m not sure which yet, and I might even change my mind on these and return them to the library unread. However, this is the current plan.

For ebooks, I’m not sure what will be next. I have a few more of Lazette Gifford’s works, and I’ve been enjoying those so I might go with another of her ebooks. Or I might start Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward. We’ll see.

In the meantime, it’s good to be back on the blog. Have a great weekend!

in which there is an accidental blog vacation

Well, I hadn’t meant to take a blog vacation, but I’m in the middle of one. I haven’t been blogging. I haven’t been feeling like blogging. But I also didn’t want anyone to worry where I was.

So – welcome to my blog vacation! I’ll probably be back from my blog vacation next week sometime. Maybe not until the week after that. We’ll have to see.

Have a great week (or two)!

Friday Reads ~ in which reading happens but nothing is finished

I’ve been reading this week, but there is one problem with reading three books at once: when you start all three books at the start of a week, chances are low that any of them will be completed by the end of the week. (Well, okay, I technically started all of these books last week. However, it was at the very end of last week, so the same sentiment applies.)

WHAT I READ:

Nothing. Or everything… everything currently in progress, that is. But as I mentioned above, I didn’t actually finish anything.

WHAT I’M READING:

My current audio book is Going Rogue by Drew Hayes, the third in the Spells, Swords, and Stealth series. I’m not looking forward to finishing this one, because the fourth book isn’t out yet and finishing this one means I’ll have to wait for the next one. Oh well.

I’m reading another Cat Mystery for my paper book, this one being Black Cat Crossing by Kay Finch. It’s highly amusing so far, though at least in part because the main character is a mystery writer and so she keeps finding plot ideas in the actual happenings around her.

And I’m reading the ebook Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper by Lazette Gifford. It’s got some good humor in it, but so far the best humor is the title. I haven’t gotten all that far into it yet, though. It is interesting reading about Bunny’s family dynamics, though there’s been no wrath yet.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

I’m still planning on reading Connie Willis’ Bellwether when I finish with my current paper book. I’m not sure what my next audio book will be, but I’m still leaning toward The Search For Exoplanets, a Great Courses lecture series by Joshua N. Winn.

And for ebooks… I’ve determined that my best strategy for reading ebooks is to not make any plans. When I’ve finished the one I’m reading now, I’ll start whatever is most appealing at the time. We’ll have to wait and see what that is.

WIP Weds ~ in which the Babette Blanket returns

I have been knitting. Promise. But! For the first time in a while, I have also been crocheting!

Last weekend, I finally decided to finish weaving in all the ends on the Babette Blanket. I also remembered that this only meant I needed to weave in the inside ends — the ends that I’m going to be crocheting over in order to join the pieces can be hidden while I crochet, so I don’t need to take the extra time to weave in those ends.

And I am pleased to report that the (inside) ends are now finished! So now it’s just a matter of joining the blanket, edging it, and cuddling with it. One thing to keep in mind — I am making the Babette Blanket as a scrap sock yarn blanket, so it’s not going to be as large as intended. But, for me, part of the joy of this blanket is the memory of some of these yarns. I’m thinking this blanket is going to live on my desk chair as part of my “make my desk space usable” 101 in 1001 Challenge task. (Tangent: my desk is a lovely old piece that used to be my grandma’s. I don’t want to get rid of it. However, it’s not anywhere close to ergonomically correct the way it is, so I need to do a lot of work to it in order to make it useful as a modern desk.)

Anyway, here is the blanket as I laid it out Monday while planning which squares would go where. Please excuse the wrinkled blanket underneath. I was in the middle of doing laundry, and wasn’t planning on sharing these photos. (I decided it was easier to share these working photos than take new ones just for blogging, though.)

Babette progress 8-2-17

I am pleased with how it’s turning out. There’s a lot more color variety than I had originally planned on, but that makes it more fun as a scrap blanket, in my opinion. You can see there’s a section in the middle there which is already assembled. (That’s how you’re supposed to join the blanket. There’s a whole spiral layout of assembly.)

Babette progress 8-2-17

That’s a close-up of the assembled section. Again, since these were intended as working photos, I took close-ups of each section as they are supposed to be assembled so that I can hopefully connect everything a little easier.

I also elected not to block the squares before joining them. Maybe that was a mistake, and it might cause me problems later. But… right now it doesn’t matter to me. (And frankly, I wasn’t sure that if I decided to block it if I would ever finish the thing. Besides, since I was using scrap yarn, there are a lot of different weights and I’m not sure all the squares will block out properly. I’m just hoping I can ease the seams all together… if not, I’ll be re-making a square or two.)

If this was a gift, I’d be a lot more particular with it. But it’s for me, and I would just like to have it finished at this point. It has been in progress for over 7 years. (I started it in April of 2010.) That’s plenty of time for it to be unfinished.

Babette progress 8-2-17

Since taking these working photos I have gotten a lot more work done on the blanket. It’s a pain to lay out the individual squares, though, so the next time you see a picture of the whole thing laid out flat, it will be completely assembled. (Maybe not edged yet, though.) I might have progress pictures of the sections, but I don’t intend to set out all the little pieces at once again.

Have a great rest of the week! Do you have any projects (knitting, crochet, or otherwise) which have been “in progress” for much longer than they should have been? Share your thoughts so I don’t feel so bad about my lingering project…  🙂

Top Ten Tuesday ~ 2016 Releases We Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To (But TOTALLY Plan To)

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! They come back from hiatus next week, but until then, here’s another post from earlier this year:

Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To (But TOTALLY Plan To)

These are in essentially reverse publication order, because the easiest way to figure this out was to go to my “to read” shelf on Goodreads and sort by pub date. This is not every 2016 book from my Goodreads “to read” shelf, but the ones that interested me the most. There was one (a graphic novel) which I left off of this list because I haven’t caught up in that series yet, though that book still is high on my interest list.

  1. Exile for Dreamers (Stranje House #2) by Kathleen Baldwin ~ I enjoyed the first one of these a lot, and am curious to see where the story goes
  2. The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid ~ I’m pretty sure I was gifted this book last Christmas. I know nothing else about it except it was highly recommended.
  3. Clockwork Alchemist by Sara C. Roethle ~ pretty cover
  4. Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin ~ this one has an interesting concept
  5. Gone With the Witch (Wishcraft Mystery #6) and The Witch and the Dead (Wishcraft Mystery #7) by Heather Blake ~ I really like this series, so adding two books (instead of one) makes sense to me, since they were both released in 2016
  6. A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe ~ the cover is what originally interested me, but the summary sounds interesting too
  7. Nightstruck by Jenna Black ~ LOVE the premise on this one… and it’s on my TBR shelf already, so I have no excuses
  8. Chaos Choreography (InCryptid #5) by Seanan McGuire ~ I need to catch up on the rest of the series (well, okay, just book #4) but then I can read this one
  9. The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten Weiss ~ I didn’t have to read the premise of this one to know I was interested. Talk about a catchy title!
  10. Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner ~ I’m not sure about Shatner’s writing style (haven’t read anything by him) but I loved watching the documentary about Leonard Nimoy, and would love to know more

What about you? Do you have any recently published books that you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten to yet?

101 in 1001 ~ update the thirteenth

It’s time for the 13th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for over a year now! Crazy. It does show something about me, though: if I can make a tracker for something, I’m a LOT more likely to keep doing it. I have a tracker for the challenge in my Bullet Journal, and also have an Excel sheet I’ve been updating with progress. And you know what? Unlike (untracked) New Year’s resolutions, this one I have been keeping up with.

Here’s this month’s challenge progress:

July 2017
1 item completed this month
27 items currently in progress

~*~     ~*~     ~*~

Blog #22: Refresh my list of Favorite Blogs, and find at least 10 new blogs to include ~ 7/27/2017

I have all of the links to these new blogs in the official challenge post (which is a sticky post at the top of the blog), and I enjoy visiting them. I’m just glad they ended up being blogs on a variety of topics – usually when I go looking for new blogs I end up finding bunches all on the same topic and don’t branch out at all. Granted, most of the blog topics in my list of new blogs-to-follow are one of a few things, but hey, those are my interests, right? It only makes sense that most of the blogs I read would be about things I’m interested in.

~*~     ~*~     ~*~

In any case, even with little in the way of completed tasks this has been a good month. Have a great August! Can you believe we’re already to August?

Friday Reads ~ in which we have another review catch-up

I had previously finished reading Xenation: Draw the Line and Farstep Station, both by Lazette Gifford. At the time, I didn’t have the time or energy to write book reviews for them. I’ve since found both time and energy, though. The reviews for each book can be found in the links in their titles above.

And a quick update on the 2017 Reading Challenge: I have finished reading 5 of 10 Cat Mystery books, and have started my 6th. I’ve also read 81.4% new books this year, which is over my 75% goal for the year. I guess I haven’t been as tempted to re-read books as in years past! We’ll see if I can keep that up, though. All it will take is getting into one long series of books I’ve already read to throw that off… and I’ve been considering re-reading The Chronicles of Prydain this year. That would mess up my percentage right there.

WHAT I READ

This week I finished reading Doctor Who: City of Death by James Goss (full review is here). It was enjoyable, though not a new favorite book. (Mostly because it’s not a favorite episode of Doctor Who.) The writing was good and the humor was great, though, even if it isn’t my favorite story plot.

I also finished the audio book Split the Party, the second of Drew Hayes’ Spells, Swords, and Stealth series. (The review is here.) Love it! This one is a new favorite book, and it (as well as the first in the series, NPCs) is in the running for Favorite Book Read in 2017.

WHAT I’M READING

As soon as I finished Split the Party, I started listening to Going Rogue, the third Spells, Swords, & Stealth book. There’s a fourth one coming out either later this year or next year, though the release date hasn’t been announced yet. I suspect this 4th book will be an instant purchase for me, too.

I also started to read Black Cat Crossing (A Bad Luck Cat Mystery #1) by Kay Finch. This will be another book for my Cat Mystery Reading Challenge. It’s amusing so far.

For ebooks, I just started Lazette Gifford’s Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper, mostly because the title made me laugh. I haven’t gotten far enough into it yet to tell you what I think of it other than that.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

My next audio book might be another non-fiction book. I’m thinking it will be the Great Courses book The Search for Exoplanets by Joshua Winn. I’m not positive yet, though.

And my next paper book will almost certainly be Bellwether by Connie Willis. It’s been all I can do to not start reading it (even without having finished my current paper book) ever since Amazon delivered it to me.