Friday Reads ~ in which lots of books get finished

So… a lot has happened book-wise since the last update. Are you ready? Then here we go!

Before I go into a recap of my reading for the week, here’s a quick look at how my 2017 Reading Challenge is going. I had said I wanted to read at least 3 new books for every 1 re-read. So, I want my percentage of new books to be 75% or greater. At the moment, it is exactly 75%! I have read 9 new books and 3 books I’ve read before, so I’m right on schedule.

WHAT I READ:

I finished the short story anthology Glitter & Mayhem. It was quite a wild ride, and you can find my full review of it here.

I also finished both Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in audio book form. I didn’t write reviews of either of them, because I’ve read them so many times that I don’t know if I could write a proper review of them. Still, very enjoyable to come back to these stories. And I love the narrations in the Harper Audio CD collection.

And in addition to those three, I finished A Darkness Absolute (Rockton #2) by Kelley Armstrong. She’s still one of my favorite authors, and I greatly enjoyed this book. Full review of it is here, though the short version is that if you enjoyed the first one (City of the Lost) you will probably enjoy this one. Also, they work best if you read them in order.

WHAT I’M READING:

I was planning on listening to The Silver Chair next, because that’s #4 of the Narnia series in my opinion. However, something weird appears to have happened when I imported the CDs into my iTunes library, because only the first two chapters are showing up. Therefore, I started listening to The Magician’s Nephew instead, and will get back to The Silver Chair later.

I have started reading Endless Blue by Wen Spencer for paper books. This is one of the ones I got out of the library with the second Rockton novel, so because the due date is approaching it’s higher up the TBR list than it was before (though it has been on my TBR list for a long time).

And I’m finally working on Nozy Cat #1 by Lyn Key on my eReader. Though as I warned you before, I tend to read very slowly on the eReader, because it’s not my preferred format.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

The next eBook is unplanned. I have several queued up to read, but due to reading speed on the eReader I’m just going to decide what’s next when I actually get to that point.

The next paper book will be one of the remaining two novels from the library – The Witch and the Dead by Heather Blake or A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas  E. Sniegoski. Probably.

Any my next audio book will probably be The Horse and His Boy from the Narnia series (either #5 or #3, depending on your numbering preference).

WIP Weds ~ in which I knit for me

Most (not quite all, but most) of my knitting has been for me this week. One of the big exceptions to that was the cowl I showed you on Monday, but since that one is finished now, it’s not included in this week’s WIP Weds.

As I indicated then, I have also started a second version of that cowl, and this one is for me:

I do love the pattern. It’s easy enough without being boring. And adding the beads has worked out as well as I’d thought it would – once I found the right beads. I first tried with some lovely garnet chips, but those beads weren’t big enough for my crochet hook (in order to place the bead onto the knitting) or to hold their own individually against the mohair yarn. The strand of garnet beads laid on top of the ball of yarn looked great; one single bead nestled among the knitting got lost. So, new beads were found in the stash, and on we went!

So much fun. I do think I will limit myself to 2 of these cowls, though, or at least 2 for now. They are such a quick knit even with lace weight yarn that I will keep them in mind for a quick knitted gift option.

I have also been working on the Babette blanket. While that one is crochet, not knitting, it is also for me, so it counts.

I’m still in the square-making stage, though soon I will have all of them finished and can start joining them together again. (You may recall that I started joining them at one point in order to keep myself interested in the project. I stopped because I was not focusing well on the project and figured the best way to focus was to break it down into easy-to-identify steps.)

There has been a little other knitting, but no other pictures, so we’ll stop here for today. Happy March!

101 in 1001 ~ update the eighth

It’s time for the 8th 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.

February is a short month, but I still managed to get a bunch done. More than I anticipated, in fact…

Here’s this month’s progress:

February 2017

5 items completed this month
29 items currently in progress

~*~     ~*~     ~*~

Professional & Financial #75: Look into requirements for Project Management as a career ~ 2/13/2017

I have been looking into this for a while, and I recently decided that while it sounded interesting it didn’t sound like what I wanted to do. I have a different direction I want to grow my career, though, so I may eventually talk about that on here. The result, though, is that this challenge item is complete.

Reading #80: Move my entire TBR list into my TBR Journal ~ 2/13/2017

I have been working on this for some time now, and finally got it done this month. Yes, I will have to work on keeping the journal updated – I’ll probably update Goodreads more often than the paper journal – but at least I have reached a point where it’s all current. That’s a better place to continue forward from instead of having the list spread out in lots of different places.

Blog #23: Visit my blog friends at least once a week for 3 months minimum ~ 2/28/2017

I’ve been managing to visit my blog friends weekly since December, so that challenge item is done as of today. Granted, some friends do get more frequent visits than others, but that’s partly due to posting frequency and partly due to where the blog is hosted. I’m a lot more likely to visit often if I can add your blog to my WordPress Reader.

Food #32: Cut back to 1 Starbucks chai/frap per week max, and maintain for 2 months ~ 2/28/2017

This happened in January and February of this year. I intend to mostly stick to this for the rest of the year, because I had been spending too much money (and too many calories) on Chai Lattes. However, when I am running late the Starbucks mobile app ordering is a way too easy method to make sure I get breakfast. So I have no guarantees.

Writing #98: Organize my hard-copy writing folders and notebooks ~ 2/24/2017

This one involved a lot of purging. Yes, I know, keep it for reference later. But some of the ideas were plain old not good, and others are not a style that I have determined I am good at writing. And I don’t need to keep multiple drafts of the same work, either. One reason or another, it was a lot of purging, and very cathartic.

~*~     ~*~     ~*~

Hope your February was productive, and have a great March!

Misc Monday ~ in which I have already started the Christmas knitting

Well, I already told you that I have started the Christmas knitting. However, I have also now already finished the first of the Christmas knitting projects.

Circle of Love Lace Cowl

That is the Circle of Love Lace Cowl, and it took me just over a week to finish it. I loved this knit! I am going to be making another one ASAP. This one is going to be a gift, but the next one will be for me. I modeled this one, and love the way it fits, so when I make the next one for myself I won’t be changing anything about the size. (I’ve got another color of the same yarn which I will be using, so my gauge should be the same.) The only difference will be that I will be adding beads to the one for me.

Circle of Love Lace Cowl

The true color is somewhere between these two pictures. It’s a very nice chocolate brown, but the halo of the mohair makes it a little too shiny to really capture well in sunshine.

And since we’re talking about yarn stuff today, here’s what I brought home from Stitches West this past weekend:

Stitches West 2017

I only picked up three skeins, but they are three perfect-for-me skeins. What we have here are: Greenwood Fiberworks Luscious Lace (“Blue Eyes” colorway), Hedgehog Fibers Skinny Singles (in “Boombox”), and the special Saturday show exclusive colorway (“Unprecedented”) from Space Cadet on their Lyra base.

I’m looking forward to knitting these up. However, I’ve also decided that I must finish one of my other two Christmas knitting projects currently OTN before I cast on something with one of my new yarns. I think the Space Cadet might end up as mitts (I’m thinking of finding a pattern where I start at the palm and knit up the arm until I run out of yarn so that I can use all of the pretty without wasting any). The Greenwood Fireworks will be a shawl of some kind, since it’s a lovely lace weight and yet not enough for the Featherweight Cardigan (which I still want to knit eventually). And the Hedgehog Fibers will be either a shawlette or a scarf, because I can’t see making socks out of singles yarn and the color combination doesn’t say mitts to me.

And that’s all for the last Monday in February. Hard to believe that we’re already this far into the year, isn’t it? But you know what? I think this will be a good week. And if the universe disagrees with us, let’s do what we can to make it one.

Friday Reads ~ in which I ignore a book

Astute Goodreads friends will notice that I included a book for work on my “Currently Reading” shelf. However, I’m not including that here as I just don’t feel like it. So while I will track my progress on that one in Goodreads (to the extent that I track any progress there, which is seldom except when I start or end a book) but will be ignoring it here. I will also not be writing a full review of it, so as far as the blog is concerned, I’ll be ignoring it from here on out. (In all probability I will only mention work reading on here again if I need to provide an explanation of why the for-fun reading is moving slower than I would like.)

But other than that possibly boring work-related book, here’s how the reading is going.

WHAT I READ:

I finished Wish You Were Here, the first of the Mrs. Murphy Mysteries by Rita Mae Brown. It was cute, it was practically the definition of a cozy mystery, and the animal interactions were SUPER FUN. The full review is here. This is book #1 (out of 10) for the Purrfect Reading Challenge 2017 hosted by Socrates’ Book Reviews.

WHAT I’M READING:

I started Kelley Armstrong’s A Darkness Absolute, second in the Rockton (aka Casey Duncan) novels. Haven’t gotten very far yet, but if this is anything like the first one (and other Armstrong works) there will come a point when I CAN. NOT. PUT. THE. BOOK. DOWN. I’m both looking forward to and dreading that point in the book. (It usually comes at a bad time, like 11 pm on a work night or 5 minutes before I’m due back from my lunch break.)

I’m still listening to Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis. Still enjoying it. Almost done, but not quite.

I’m also almost done – but not quite – with the eBook of Glitter & Mayhem. (I expect to have both of those “almost” books done within a few days, so this should change for next week’s update.) I have finished Seanan McGuire’s story, which was the reason I picked up the anthology in the first place. I really enjoyed it, and it’s made me more excited than I was before to read the second InCryptid book. However, I have a few other things on the TBR shelf which have priority due to library due dates.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

The next audio book will be the third in the Narnia series (by the old reckoning), The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

My next paper book is a bit up for debate. I picked up 3 other fiction books when I checked out Kelley’s latest: The Witch and the Dead by Heather Blake, A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas  E.Sniegoski, and Endless Blue by Wen Spencer. Any one of the three could be my next paper book after I’m done reading about Casey Duncan. (The Spencer book is the most likely, but it’s not a given.)

Next eBook is still Nozy Cat #1. I’ll get there. One note, though: I usually read eBooks a lot slower than their paper counterparts. I just don’t enjoy the reading process as much on a screen as I do with a physical book. So you can expect this (and any future) eBook to move much more slowly without reflecting badly on the actual content. (Look at Glitter & Mayhem as an example. If this was a paper book, I am positive I would have finished it at least a week ago instead of still being in the process of reading it.)

Have a great weekend, and Happy Reading!

WIP Weds ~ in which I have startitis

Those of you who are knitters (and possibly also those of you who love knitters) will be familiar with the term “startitis”. Basically, it means the urge to start a new project even though you haven’t finished any of your existing projects. Sometimes this is cured by starting one new project, and sometimes it requires many new projects to conquer.

In my case, this time, I was able to cure my startitis with a single new project. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that the new project is lace (which I love), easy to memorize (which is extremely convenient), and uses a soft fuzzy pretty mohair yarn.

This is the Circle of Love Lace Cowl by Evelyn Clark.I’m using Crystal Palace Yarns Kid Merino yarn, and LOVE IT so far. I have completed 4 of 9 repeats, so I’m nearly halfway through, and I’m still going strong. Given that I started this cowl on Friday late at night (when I finally gave in and decided that the urge to start a new project wasn’t going away) and I’m writing this post on Tuesday afternoon, I think that’s some darn good progress. Granted, almost the entirety of last weekend was spent either knitting or playing video games*. But still.

I love this project. And I think this is one of those patterns that I will make at least twice, because it’s so fun and simple. (If I do, I intend to add beads to the next one. There’s a double decrease on the 1st and 5th pattern rows which would be a perfect bead placement location.)

Come to think of it, I think it’s partly the weather which had me wanting something new. It’s been gray and rainy lately – which has been great for the drought, but not so great for recharging our batteries. (Californians are solar-powered, in case you weren’t aware.)

I hope you’ve been having a great week so far! Let me know if you have any antidotes for next time I get startitis…

* California has been hit hard by an atmospheric river. Lots of rain, wind, and flooding. We weren’t going ANYWHERE that we didn’t have to last weekend.

Friday Reads ~ in which the library throws a wrench in my plans

Well, before we get into this week’s books, let me give you a quick update on last week’s finished book. I have the review for A Journey to the Center of the Earth up here, if you’re interested. (If not that’s fine too. But since it wasn’t ready in time for last week’s Friday Reads, I thought I’d share just in case.)

And now for this week:

WHAT I READ:

I finished the 12th Girl Genius graphic novel last Friday (I think it was Friday). It was one of those “start reading with dinner and don’t stop until ‘THE END'” type of nights. It was lovely. I do still enjoy the series, but we’re in an enjoyment dip for me. (I tend to go from loving the story to liking the story and back again periodically depending on which sub-plots are being focused on. I’m currently in the “liking it” stage.)

I was listening to Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, but decided not to finish it. It’s interesting enough at the beginning, but it hasn’t caught my interest the way I suspect it would for someone of the target audience. (Does this qualify as a Middle Grade book? I’m leaning toward yes.) But I figure since I’ve gotten about a quarter of the way into the book, exciting things have started happening with fairies, and I still don’t care what’s happening, this book isn’t for me. However, for someone in the age range (and reading skill level perhaps?) I think this would be an enjoyable book. Things seem to be explained at a good enough level for pre- or young teens, and the actions of the pre-teen main characters are probably more interesting to readers in the target age range.

WHAT I’M READING:

I am still reading Wish You Were Here. I’m really getting into it now, though, and so the reading is going faster. (When it started, it was very much what a cozy mystery is to me – something fun to read, but without the suspense that keeps you from putting the book down.)

And on my eReader I am still reading Glitter & Mayhem. Remember how I said it was a larger book than I expected? It still is. I’m still enjoying it, and I’ll go into which of the stories I enjoyed the most when I eventually finish it and write a full review. (Because as with any short story compilation, there are some good, some great, and some meh stories. And, as is again normal for short stories, my opinions may or may not match yours. If this compilation sounds interesting to you, you should read it and make your own opinions. And then please explain the story about death/dreaming to me.)

And, since I’ve DNF’d Fabelhaven, I have started listening to Prince Caspian, which I REFUSE to refer to as Narnia Book #4. I’m sorry, to me this is still Book #2 (in much the same way that STAR WARS is STAR WARS and not A NEW HOPE). It’s narrated by Lynn Redgrave. I bought the Narnia boxed set of Harper Audio CDs, and I love them all. WELL WORTH a purchase if you like C.S. Lewis’ works and audiobooks.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

Well, I will read the next Girl Genius book at any moment. That one is on my “read in its entirety as soon as I have a whole evening free” pile, because I don’t like stopping half-way through these graphic novels.

EReader-wise, Nozy Cat #1 is still queued up next. Still waiting on me to finish Glitter & Mayhem first. (Ideally I would also finish Wish You Were Here before really getting into Nozy Cat, so that I only have one cat mystery going at a time, but we’ll see.)

I also have a change of plans for my next paper book read. I went to the library on a whim the other day, and they had A Darkness Absolute in stock. (This is the next Casey Duncan novel by Kelley Armstrong.) So I picked it up, but it’s not a renewable books (this copy is in a special “no holds, no renewals” section with other new and popular books) so I have to read it within three weeks. It will be my next paper book.

After that… well, when have you known me to go the library and come home with only one book? So after that I’ll start on one of the other three or four library books I picked up. And then I’ll go back to my personal TBR pile. Which keeps growing. Because I can’t stop going into bookstores, either.