Pages

Friday, February 20, 2015

The House of Sand and Secrets by Cat Hellisen

My first reaction upon finishing this book last night: *inarticulate fangirl noises*

Okay. So. This book is the sequel to When the Sea is Rising Red. It follows Felicita and Jannick on their move to MallenIve and... there's very little else I can say that won't spoil things. There are societal complications. Marital complications. Things ensue.

This story was an emotional roller coaster. I was frustrated (not with the book, and not with the characters.. but *with* the characters.. as in, empathy. I felt their frustrations). I teared up. Smiled uncontrollably.

[I'm not writing this well. I've woken up in a bad mood. Kids are being loud. A toothless, old cat keeps stalking back and forth between me and my keyboard. My computer is acting possessed by demons. People are changing silly in-game agreements with me at the very last minute. And it's only 9:30am. It's just been a day already. Someone make me another cup of coffee?]

Sand and Secrets is an amazing book. It's beautifully written. The characters are alive, real, and very much get under your skin and into your head. The imagery is.. breathtaking. Jannick's house in his head... I don't have the words. Amazing. Perfect. Mind blowing. None of those do this book justice.

The last book/series I gushed about like this was The Glass Books of the Dreameaters by Gordon Dahlquist (somehow I haven't read the third book in that series. wtf?!). And I stand by both that series and this one: top favorites. Ever. Of all time. Forever.

My only complaint with anything regarding this world: I can't find a copy of Dogleaf! Goodreads tells me there's a short story (ebook) that follows Felicita and Jannick after this book. I want it, precious! But it seems to not exist outside of that one goodreads page. This makes me sad. And frustrated. I want all the Hobverse books. All. Of. Them. Now, please.

There's a snippet of another book at the end of Sand and Secrets. It has elements in it that spark my dream-memory of the long ago beta read. It made me squeal with happiness inside.

Go read this series. No excuses.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

What?!

Okay. I think I knew this at one point but... Megan Lindholm - author of the Windsinger series (in which reside one of my favorite pairs ever - Ki and Vandien) - is Robin Hobb. What?!

I'm attempting to use goodreads and.. I'm not sure it's going well. Is this site as user unfriendly as I think it is? Was I spoiled by librarything? Or maybe by that month I spent entering all my books (now sadly, outdated) with my cuecat?

In any case. I'm working on it. This is me on goodreads.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen

Okay. Preface. I read this story when it was a different story. Back in the days of LiveJournal Cat let me beta read this story. It had a different title, different characters, but was lovely and engrossing. I've wanted to read her published works since she first let on that she was in print. I was so very excited for her - Cat is an amazing person.

So fast forward to a week or two ago. She has a new book out (Beastkeeper - go read it, too!). I smack my forehead: how have I still not bought her books and read them?! Okay, well, because I don't buy hardcover books or ebooks of things that I know I'm going to love. This means I can't buy her new book yet. Sadness. But! Her previous two books! I have no excuse now! B bought them for me the very day that this crisis happened in my head (yes, I have issues).

I dove into When the Sea is Rising Red with gusto. I was familiar with the world, of course. But.. it was.. like reading a dream you know you've had before. It's amazing and compelling. And different. It's not the story I remember. Like that dream - it's familiar, like a skin I shed but knew so well. When I try to remember a dream in a linear way, it slips around and refuses to be caught. Reading this book was like that. It was so exciting - just because I knew but didn't. Does that make sense?

I will say this right now - read this book. It has earned a solid position among my top favorite books. Ever. Of all time. Forever. Felicita, Dash, Jannick, Whelk Street, Ilven. The world is so solid, so well depicted. I could smell the sea air, feel the grime of the streets, taste the terror of hiding from the sharif (spelled this way in the book - not a typo), small the scriv, feel the sticky 'ink residue. I read this book in a day and a half. I tried to hold out. To savor it. But I couldn't.. I *had* to read it Right Now Or The World Will End. It was that good.

Time for some honesty. I was scared to crack open the second book: The House of Sand and Secrets. It wasn't in my half-remembered dream. The blurb about it.. doesn't sound so compelling (do blurbs ever?). What if I don't like it? How do I reconcile that with knowing that I've loved everything I've ever read by Cat? (There's a book she wrote that I beta'd. I can't remember the name of it. But Caleb. And fairy tales. And black feathers? Rain. And smoke and a squat/house. A cowboy hat? A trail in the woods? I miss that story, even though I can't hold on to the slippery dream selkie that it has become.)

So I put it off all day. I knit a sock for the littles (they fought over it - silly boys). While putting the littles to bed that night, I started House of Sand and Secrets. And you know what? It completely sucked me in. I'm in love all over again (I've already been close to tears and squealed in delight). I've less than half the book left and I'm torn (as always): devour it hungrily? Or savor it? It's so good and I Need To Know What Happens Next! So I'm doing both. I'm letting the story stew in my mind while I write this not-review and knit a second sock. And in stolen snatches I will devour pages like they are part of a hidden, secret dark chocolate stash.

tl;dr: Cat Hellisen is an amazing author. Go read her books. If you don't, you're missing out on some of the best books you'll ever read. Ever. Seriously. Go. Now. Read. Thank me later. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Creeper

Finished the creeper for the Elf yesterday. More fiddling with plastic canvas than I'd like, but the boys love it. Learned (properly, finally) how to crochet in joined rounds. Couldn't get the seam invisible and there's still a slight diagonal to the work (you can really tell in the second pictures) but it's an improvement all the same.








Used this pattern and some random sock yarn held double. Ravelery notes here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Recap

Okay. So I had a birthday. It was great. Here's the card the Elf made for me:








Very shortly after my birthday - possibly the day after, even. I can't recall. Anyway.. I woke up dizzy. Really, really dizzy. I thought it was a weird vertigo thing. Turns out I was freakishly iron/b-12 deficient. I've been taking supplements since and things have been better.

Here's what I've been up to:

Blending, spinning, plying yarn for a friend.


Knitting a hoodie for the Imp, a sock (sorry it took two years (literally!) to make the second one!) for B, and crocheting a creeper for the Elf as well as new dishrags. Not pictured, I knit new fingerless (with fingers, but no tips) gloves for B.


Books! B bought me two books by the lovely Cat! She just had another book come out but it's only available in hardcover, so I must be patient.


I have plans to knit socks for a friend, the two youngest boys, maybe myself (also thinking of fingerless gloves for myself). I hardly ever make things for me.. but.. maybe it's time.

I've been reading. A lot. Oh, how I missed reading. Once upon a time my blog was called Book Eater. Because.. that's what I do. I devour books. Chomp! I've read the entire Morganville series, the His Dark Materials series, The Mysterious Benedict Society, City of Ember. Everything after Morganville is to check books that I'd intended the Elf to read this year. Since then I've started reading Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series. I'm on the second now and am remember how much I really didn't like it. Ugh, Chronos, you are dull.

Lots of my free time has been spent browsing BookTube (the book-centric side of YouTube) and it's made me want to start reviewing books again. We'll see if I actually follow through with that. Either way, it's been so nice watching videos and commenting. Much more community-esque than my experience with LibraryThing.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Venting - Please Ignore.

Tomorrow is my birthday and my kids are trying my patience in all the ways they can imagine. Can I just have a day? Twenty-four hours? Some short amount of time where my kids treat me and each other with respect? Where the fighting is kept to a minimum? With no tantrums or screaming? No groans about school work or ughs about not getting to watch cartoons whenever they want? Would that be so much to ask?

Yes. It would be. It is.

I know all the "hold on to this time you'll miss it when they're older" nonsense. Maybe I will. If I survive the now. I don't miss diapers or crying babies or breastfeeding or being pregnant or giving birth or teaching kids to use the toilet. Am I really going to miss them all being at each other's throats over incredibly stupid things? Nope. I don't think so.

Still. I understand the sentiment. I just can't be bothered to care right now, in the midst of the chaos.
.
.
.
I'm feeling less ill these days. I still have a cough and ache everywhere but I don't feel like the flu is trying to kill me anymore. I spent the morning getting the last month's worth of "school logs" (which are laughable at best) in order. First I was discouraged about what we're covering, what we need to cover, how I can't possibly teach them anything. Then I googled and thought and planned and felt mildly better - maybe even hopeful. Then I couldn't get the eldest to tell me what an adjective was. Or even to read aloud the line of poetry instructions that were relevant to the issue involving adjectives. Table hitting ensued (his), followed by time out (his), and a lecture (mine) - all to no avail, I assure you. But now.. not feeling so hopeful. Feeling more like "why the hell am I even bothering? I've fought him for the last seven years, shouldn't I just give up already and send his butt to school so I'll at least have peace?!"

Sigh.

Yep. This is why I don't post to my blog. It ends up being a whine-fest. Maybe venting will help. I don't know. I don't have any.. real life... friends, I guess you'd say. No one in town, no one I've met in person, really. There are people scattered across the globe that I met through blogs. But.. I'm not going to unload on them (which I'm probably sort of doing here, but not directly, dammit!). I rant to B when he's home (and in IMs while he's at work). Nothing helps. I'll keep flip flopping between hopeful and dejected. Is it me? Is it my relationship with my kids? Should we just not be homeschooling? Was I doomed from the start? My sister's answer would be to send them to school and get therapy. B's advice is to take it one step at a time. Rob's advice would be to make sure I take care of me. My coping mechanism is to let them all play video games and watch cartoons while I hide in a book or a game. Not ideal.

Right. Time to make lunch for kids and clean up the pile of books the eldest just knocked over. Because... that's my job right?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I miss having a community.

It appears that, hermit though I may be, I miss interacting with people. Shocker, right?

I'm not going to try and recap whatever I may have done since my last failed attempt at getting back into blogging. Instead I'm just going to talk about what is going on Right Now.

Right Now:
- I have the flu.
- My kids are loud and crazy.
- I am knitting fingerless gloves for B.
- I should be plying yarn for a friend I haven't managed to speak to in a long while.
- There are two baskets of laundry overflowing in the bedroom.
- I have nothing to read.


So, I'm sick. The kids are, too, a bit. They cough, but I feel like a train wreck. They have energy, I just want to go back to bed. That's life.

For a long while B's gloves were missing. It got cold, he asked for new ones. I bought some beautiful yarn and got to work. I'm working on the second glove and I can honestly tell you that I despise 1x1 ribbing.

Last year the Geek and Sundry Morganville Vampires mini series inspired me to read the books. I finished the last one yesterday and now I feel a little bereft. I'm sure that I have things to read, I just don't know what I'm in the mood for. The series was 15 books long and my brain is maybe still a little stuck in that world.

I'm still obsessively playing ArcheAge. Even when the game infuriates me I can't seem to stay away. That said, I'm finding less and less to do when B isn't around to play as well. I suppose that was bound to happen eventually.

In six days, I will officially be one year older. I feel like I've aged ten years in the last few months. This depression-or-whatever isn't fun stuff and I'm heartily tired of it. I hope that the eventual warmer weather clears my brain and brings back some of my energy.