Archive for September, 2017



Suicide Queen (Dana McIntyre Must Die #4)Suicide Queen by S.M. Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For some reason, I thought I had already written this review. Boo Me! This was my favorite Dana story yet! And even that may be a bit of a spoiler! Only for those following this part of the series.

Timeout. I just need to say how much I love the cover pictures of Dana! She is so cool! She isn’t some starved skinny-mini. This gal means business! The story reflects the cover or vice versa. Geez, with all the vampires, Las Vegas will never be the same. But that is why Dana is there, to rid that fine city of those bloodsuckers.

As I’m writing this review, I am having the hardest time making sure not to put out spoilers. Just take it from me, this was a marvelous series and Dana is my favorite of all of Ms. Reine’s characters. So sorry to see this series end. How I hope Sara will bring Dana back again soon!

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The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneThe Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I would gladly give this book 5 stars. But making poor people (the Kindle version is $12.99!) and/or those with vision problems to buy the audio-book ($19.99) is just plain greedy! Sure the Audible version helps the reader know how certain words are pronounced. And the narrators are very good. And (although I had to wait until I had a credit over there) it was ‘free’ on Audible. I could have had that Kindle version back to the library earlier had I been able to listen to a Text-to-Speech as I read. All that inconvenience and not being able to save my credit for something else I was planning on, should actually lower my rating. But, doggone it! This was a fantastic book! Please, dear author (Lisa See), since the book is about poor people and their struggles, consider the struggles of those who can’t afford to buy your book and or have vision problems!

Gripe ended. The book was so good that I didn’t want to stop reading it for anything! I loved the amount of research the author put into the whole story. And yet I didn’t feel inundated with information. It all felt quite naturally a part of the tale.

It is told mostly from Li-yan’s point of view in a minority village of China. Later her daughter, Haley’s, point of view as an orphan in Orange County, California. What is genetic, instinct, or just natural curiosity? In a culture discouraging more than one child and girls the least desirable, what are the results on those poor girls sent away? What happens to the country that makes that happen? What are the results for the family or parents that are forced into this kind of situation?

These questions are answered. AND you will learn more about tea than you may ever want to know but find yourself longing to know more!

It has been over a week since I finished reading/listening to this gem. I still miss the characters and wish I knew what happened next. I doubt there is a second book in the making. The book leaves you just wishing for more. If you can get the book or audio recording, I think you will like it! Thank you, Leslie, for recommending it!

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Heart Felt Knits: 25 Fresh and Modern Felting ProjectsHeart Felt Knits: 25 Fresh and Modern Felting Projects by Tamara Mello

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How can I fairly review this book? The wool that was donated to us is good for cores of toys but I don’t think it will do well for wet-felting. It certainly can’t be spun into a decent yarn. This book centers on felting that is done from knitted items.

Yet, if this appeals to you, and the pictures are certainly appealing, you might want to go out and buy good wool yarns and get busy. In fact, the scarf featured on the actress on the front of this book is beautiful. If you recognize her, from the show Popular, it may be even more fun to read this book. Ms. Tamara Mello spent much of her downtime on set, knitting. Reading about her path of learning knitting was fun. I loved the looks of all the items pictured in the book. The instructions, even for learning to knit, were thorough and well illustrated.

So I guess I should mark this 5 stars, even though it isn’t helpful now. Who knows how far I will get into the felting hobby? I may find myself buying this book later instead of borrowing it from the eBook library.

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My Newest Passion


In the last couple weeks, the chairperson of the charity organization I belong to called me. Some nice person had donated wool to our group. Most of the time people donate yarn. Often it is of their own stash that they just don’t have the time or have lost interest in yarn arts. In Hat Huggers we take that yarn and knit, crochet, or loom knit items for the needy. But wool, straight off the sheep?

Ms. Carol (chairperson) has had sheep and recognized that the wool was in a ‘rolag’. Yeah. I thought, whatever that is. Quickly my brain dismissed the word. I kept calling it a hank of wool. But all of this sent me on an educational adventure. I soon learned, though not solid in my understanding (feel free to correct my definition) that the rolag is the first level of refinement after being sheered and washed. It is like a long rope of wool. There are still bits of hayseed and knots of wool. Apparently, this wool had been of several cuttings so some parts are shorter than others. This makes it a bad candidate for spinning. So Carol wondered if I would be willing to learn about felting. Would I? Of Course!

I have been very busy since finding books, or YouTubes, or Pins of felting. The more I read and watched the more excited I was to give it a try. Think molding with clay without the mess!

Carol gave the mass another washing and even put it through her carding machine. I think that makes it a batting or roving. I think batting because the bag of wool she gave me had a lot of seeds and stuff in it. I couldn’t wait to get started felting so I followed instructions of Sleepy Mice. They are so adorable! BUT

BUT I don’t have the tool she uses to wind the wool around. I used something similar to a chop-stick. I got the head and body too far apart. Now that I look at it, it looks more like a seahorse.

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This is just the core as this level of wool is too rough and. well, ugly to use for the finished product. I’ll be getting some nice roving on Wednesday to finish this guy.

Meanwhile, I have a bag full of the rolag that just feels awful. I have no carding machine, not even the hand carders or even dog brushes that can work in a pinch. But I have short hair and in no need for a couple of brushes I used to use on my long hair. So I improvised and have been carding all day.

That first bag (left) is the rolag as Carol gave it to me. The brushes follow. I pulled out a couple of the puffs of wool I had carded and the bag on the right is what I carded today. I think it is enough to start another needle felting project. I want to try the mice but I saw a simpler rabbit that might be better for a first project. I am hooked! Even if we never get wool donated again, I will keep trying my hand and maybe even sell my projects to support my habit. 🙂

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By the way, I am still in love with loom knitting and looking for ways to incorporate both hobbies. It has been a fun busy summer.


Imagine Me GoneImagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A few days ago I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t finish this book. I just couldn’t like the characters or the story. What parts I related to were triggers of my own upbringing and depressions. I figured this wasn’t a good book for me.

After looking at the reviews and realizing a friend had recommended to me, I decided to stick it out. I must admit that the book got a little better but still was not one I will remember in the future. I would normally give this book a single star, but I do think the subject matter needs to be shared with others that may not have had the opportunity to learn about it first hand. And explore why the treatment of depression and other mental health issues don’t get looked at is because many think the patients are needy, attention-getters or otherwise diminish the pain the person is going through. The author gives us a couple glimpses into the minds of severe depression. So I raised the star rating by one.

Since I review and rate for my own future reference I have to leave it at 2 stars. Others love this book and say it is their favorite of the year. So don’t take my word for it. Pick it up and see what you think. Oh, I should mention this was a library Kindle version.

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Here are some pictures of ‘weeds’, ‘herbs’, or plants according to what you seek in your lawn. If you recognize them, let me know what you call them, if they are useful. By the way, I read in the Farmer’s Almanac that the height of the weeds in Summer the height of the snow in Winter, Yikes! It was high enough last Winter! Weeds are up past my waist in a lot of places!

 

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And while out that day snapping this and that plant, I saw this so I took closer and closer views because he/she seemed to want that.

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Sad that most of this Summer was so smoky and as the smoke is going away, it is getting colder. Bummer. I love Summer. I don’t like the cold!

 

Review: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami


1Q841Q84 by Haruki Murakami

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fulfilling. That what I think describes finishing this book. It kept me going. I wondered what would happen next. With fantasy, anything is possible, even if it is in 1984.

And that brings me to the next thought. We didn’t have cell phones and internet access the way we do now. Often I would think, check your cell and realize that couldn’t happen then. They had pay phones and word processors. If a person had a computer it wasn’t user-friendly. So one has to keep that year and those thoughts in mind.

Next was the curiosity of the two moons that signify to our main characters they weren’t in true 1984 but an alternative reality. That was why Aomame called it 1Q84. I loved her name. She was the main character, by the way. I craved Edamame the whole time I was reading it. Yes, the ‘mame’ part means pea. I love how often the author used that theme.

I loved the characters. But I felt the description of their clothing or appearance over done. In fact, this book needed a good editor to go through and get rid of all the unneeded repetition. I often felt like throwing the book (my Kindle) across the room. I wanted to get back to the story and see what happened and telling me one more time about the two moons or the wrong clothing or any of the millions (I may exaggerate here) of other times something was repeated. I understand that the author wanted to stress certain things but it insults the reader to do that too often. But who am I to say that, an unpublished author of 12 books compared to his mass of highly acclaimed novels. Just trying to be true to what I felt as I read it.

This book took me ages to finish. It must be hefty in hardback. It was a library book so I had to spend every moment reading as I have two more books that are due next week. Still, it was worth the struggle and I miss the people already.

Stop reading this review here as this might be a spoiler. I wish I could read more of what happens next to the main characters. And I felt there were threads in the two-moon world that I wanted to see worked further. Well, maybe that didn’t reveal too much after all.

If you get the chance, please read this book. My friend, Patty B. was right. This was a very good book!

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One GorillaOne Gorilla by Anthony Browne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was another I picked up at the library to beef up my lagging reading goal. So glad I did!

The artwork grabbed me even before I lifted it off the shelf. It reminds me of Eric Carle’s illustrations. Maybe a little more detailed?

I had to laugh out loud as I was selecting the tags for this book. You see I read the pictures, the names of the animals and oooo the pictures. In tagging I realized: THIS IS A COUNTING BOOK!

A teacher or parent could have loads of fun presenting new information each time this book is read aloud. Even beyond young children the science presented about primates could launch several discussions about the different classifications. Field trip to the zoo! An art class using water colors. Oh… and we can learn our numbers. I suppose that would be the place to start. But again–The pictures!!! They inspire me to get out my brushes and paints. I need to learn how someday. I must grow beyond drawing!

Check it out, read it aloud to a small child. Smuggle it into your room and enjoy the illustration!

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Help Me, Mr. Mutt!: Expert Answers for Dogs with People ProblemsHelp Me, Mr. Mutt!: Expert Answers for Dogs with People Problems by Janet Stevens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve fallen behind in my reading goal for this year so I decided to include a few picture books or other short books to catch up. Most of the books I’m reading lately are quite long. So these are a bit of a relief for my eyes and energies.

Help Me, Mr. Mutt! Jumped out at me when I visited the library last. I loved the cute dog on the cover and decided that would be a good one to try.

The idea of a dog answering letters for other dogs with people problems was delightful. I loved the sneaky letters after Mr. Mutt’s reply from Queen the cat were hilarious. I loved that Mr. Mutt was able to give charts to prove his answers (though I wonder at his fact finding abilities–seems rather fake news to me). Still, the dogs reading said letters would be grateful to see their desires as proven fact. A great introduction to charts and how they work!

And while I think this was all fun and games, I think a good pet owner would insert proper care for said pets when reading this book aloud to a child. After all, if a child were to read this to his or herself, he might think it okay to give pets people food or sugary foods, or follow other advice not so good for a dog or cat. Still, read with a sense of humor it could be a fun book for parent and child or teacher and students to share.

And did I mention the illustrations? They were awesome! Fun read!

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