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


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


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


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.