• Books

    Detection Unlimited by Georgette Heyer

    Some time ago, I read most of the romance novels of Georgette Heyer. Even though I found some small issues with her writing, I liked it enough to read most of her romantic works. Around that time, I picked up this book at a used book fair. It looked brand new and in great condition.

    I’ve been meaning to read some of the books in my collection and then donate them after I read them to free up space. I also want easy and cozy reads between my library ones.

    I’ll start with the positives. I like Chief Inspector Hemingway and the other policemen in this novel. I did want to finish the novel to see how they figured it out, but I was underwhelmed by the rest.

    The CI notes in the novel that the case has a lot of suspects. Too many! In fact the beginning and the middle of the book is full of red herrings. Furthermore, there is a lot of dialogue in this book that doesn’t amount to much in the end. The ending is a tad anticlimactic as a result. I much prefer Agatha Christie’s pacing and style for English mysteries.

    It’s not the say I won’t try another Heyer novel, but I am less than impressed. I think I’ll try one more but then move on to other authors and books.

    This was apparently the last of her mysteries so it makes me wonder if her earlier stuff was better or as meandering.

    Read February 13-26th, 2018.

  • Books

    Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

    I didn’t think I’d get the second book so soon after reading the first.

    This was a good sequel. The beginning was a bit slow for me as I tried to get back into this world, but I liked the addition of the new characters and the world building. It was interesting and some aspects of this world were funny. The book is partly narrated by the AI known as “Thunderhead” who is a character in the novel that also develops with the characters.

    I think the return of certain nemesis was a bit corny, but still well done. I also like that certain villains didn’t turn out to be good, but more vindictive.

    The ending was dramatic. There was a lot of death. I continue to like Citra and Rowan. Though I do think both of them have become the typical YA cipher heroes in that a lot of teenagers could put themselves in their situation or would want to.

    All in all, a very good second installment in this series.

    Read February 19, 2018

  • Books

    The Book of Dust Volume One, La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

    It’s been awhile since I felt so warm about a novel. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is one of my favourite series and I have fond memories of reading it. The novels alongside the Harry Potter ones were seminal in my reading life as a young adult.

    It’s been such a long time since I’ve read a Pullman novel and I did have complicated feelings after The Amber Spyglass, but I have always loved Lyra and Lyra’s World. Pullman has this ability to write about danger and adventure, but his characters are so human, kind, brave, and real. They feel like people you know or want to know. He has adventurers, explorers, beautiful villains, rough heroes, academics, nuns, bears, witches, and so much more.

    I went into this novel with little knowledge about the premise, but I had to read it of course. At first, I was a bit sad that it was a prequel but I soon adored Malcolm and his daemon Asta as I did Lyra, Pan, and Will. This book reminded me about how wonderful it was to read The Golden Compass almost twenty years ago.

    This book in particular is set before all the drama of the first trilogy so there is a sense of danger to happen early in the books, but there is a lot of coziness. The first half deals heavily with Malcolm’s life and the intrigue of Lyra’s World. Malcolm’s life in Oxford is full of chores, small adventures, and a sprinkling of food. At times, especially with Dr Hannah, the book was more akin to a spy novel than the others before it. I liked the addition of Dr Hannah too; Pullman has always done well with his female characters. I also enjoyed the growth and insight to working girl Alice.

    A little quibbles about the book. Once the action gets underway in the last half and third of the book, it does get a bit long. There is one particular creepy and mad villain who keeps coming back and back. There was some odd interludes, but that’s be expected.

    Overall, I gave this book five stars and firmly believe this universe is superior to Narnia. I read Narnia before these books and did love them, but these are better classics in almost every way. I also personally love this universe more than Tolkien’s as well which I know is sacrilege, but I was never a big Tolkien fan.

    I read this book in one evening and stayed up as well because I had to return it the next day. However, I loved it so much that I do want to reread it. I will buy the hard cover and furthermore, I have decided to buy Everyman’s omnibus of His Dark Materials. I have the trilogy on paperback but it was the edited American edition someone gave me many years ago. I’d like a beautiful hardcover edition to pass on it and reread some of it in advance of the second volume of The Book of Dust. The next one is suppose to feature Lyra and will be a sequel which is something I’ve wanted for years.

    Read February 5, 2018.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO: Banada Cowl II – 1/6 in 2018

    Bandana Cowl II

    The first of six knitting projects I want to finish in 2018. This Bandana Cowl was made quickly for my partner to use, but I’ve been using it as well. If I make a third one for me, I’d make it tighter at the neck and generally smaller so it can be more of a true bandana for me.

    Bandana Cowl II

    Bandana Cowl II, started January 15, 2018, finished January 24, 2017. Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Bandana Cowl from Purl Soho Ravelry Pattern Page
    Made for: P

    Bandana Cowl II

    Yarn: Briggs & Regal Little – 100% Wool in Royal Blue – used 0.63 skein or 156.7 meters (171.4 yards), 71 grams
    Needles: #9/5.5mm 40″/100cm long circulars

    Bandana Cowl II

    Modifications & Notes: The same as the last one.
    Cost of Project: The yarn cost about $4 before taxes.
    Would I knit it again? I already did and probably would again