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Un Reviews

What’s an un-review? It’s a reason why I didn’t read it. If I start a book and there’s no good reason to quit then I’ll read all the way through it. But if there is a good reason for me to stop, I will. These are the books I didn’t read, and why.

After the Red Rain by Barry Lyga, Peter Facinelli, and Rob DeFranco
I found this book dull and overdramatic. An orphan girl in a hard world sees a pretty naked boy. He has special powers. She’s framed for murder. I don’t see a plot here, just a bunch of things happening with lots of emotional rushes.

Spy Games by Adam Brookes – This book was not catching. I tried twice to get into it but both times I just couldn’t stay with the characters, or in the world. actually some of them were kind of annoying. this was disappointing because I absolutely love crime novels and spy books.

Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson – There was no plot. The first hour and a half of the book, I was still just barely understanding the world. And if the first hour and a half is just character development and world building, I’m sorry, but you’re not a story teller, you’re a world builder. It was a brilliant world, don’t get me wrong. But the only thing that happened in the first hour and a half was she got ice cream and then went outside, saw some boys, and went back inside.

Atlas of Cursed Places by Olivier Carrer – This was the kind of book that should be flipped through. Acoffee-table book, a book given to a history buff, a book to read to yourself. I found the audiobook boring and dry, and hard to focus on. Not all books are good for audio. This isn’t a reflection of the book, more the fact that it didn’t make a good audio production.

The Gameshouse

The Gameshouse Series by Claire North
Genre: Urban Magic
Published November 2015
Rating: 5
Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

The Gameshouse is a novella series by Claire North, author of Touch and several other books. She is a stunning writer with a distinct and mysterious writing style that engages the reader and forces them to think harder and harder with every passing page.

The first novella, The Serpant,
proved a beautiful introduction to the world in which the Gameshouse resides, which is our world, except not. It’s a world in which there are cunning, clever, devious, and skilled players using our world as a game board. The game might be an election, a war, or something more simple such as hide and seek. But they play for more than money. They play for years of their lives, their love of the taste of strawberries, a memory, the affections of the person they last loved, the richness of the color purple… or something more detrimental: if I win, you take my asthma. If you win, I take your constant migraines.

The story begins with a beautiful portrait and backstory of our main character Thini, who later becomes a crucial piece in a bigger game. Her game is played, the game is won, and the world goes on.

The second novella, The Thief, shows us a more detailed and in-depth look at the
Gameshouse and how it works, and how sometimes, not all games are fair. Remy plays hide and seek with a highly skilled player whose record of finding someone is 11 days. If Remy wins, he gains 20 years of the other man’s life. If he loses, he forfeits all of his memories. All of them. A hungover older player against a highly skilled young man who only plays when he knows he can win leaves us with a thrilling and unexpected end to an unbalanced match. But it ends, and the world goes on.

The third story The Master ties the other two together in the ultimate game. The final game, the Great Game. A great player, known only by the name Silver, challenges the Gamesmaster, the woman all in white behind a veil, who is in charge of the Gameshouse. The doors of the Gameshouse shut and both players use every piece they have to play a giant game of chess with the world. The winner will have the rights to the Gameshouse. The loser dies. But Silver is not a normal player. Silver has a different goal for the outcome. And when the last move comes to play, he has to make a choice. And so he leaves that choice up to the one thing he doesn’t have control over. Luck. And the world goes on.



This series was frustrating and exciting. The ending left me frustrated (okay, yes, I did spend some time ranting out loud). But it was in a good way. The story was finished and whatever happens after that doesn't really matter because the world still goes on. This is a series that plays with the reader's mind just as much as the players in the book play their pieces.


Step through the silver doors. And flip your coin.

About Claire North
Claire North is actually Catherine Webb, a Carnegie Medal-nominated young-adult novel author whose first book, Mirror Dreams, was written when she was just 14 years old. She went on to write seven more successful YA novels.  She also writes under the pseudonym Kate Griffin.

Dressed in Knits

Dressed in Knits: 19 Designs for Creating a Custom Knitwear Collection by Alex Capshaw-Taylor
Genre: Knitting
ISBN: 9781620339466
Published: November 27th 2015 by Interweave Press
Rating: 4.5

This book is Super-classy. I mean, like, some of these patterns, I’d fell like I would have to do my hair and makeup just to make them, let alone wear them. they’re highly elegant and very flattering (at least, they are on the models). All of them except one, a random cropped jacket that’s all bobbles. It didn’t fit with the rest of the collection at all. These were the kind of sweaters and camisoles you go into an expensive shop and you’re afraid to touch the yarn because it’s like a whole paycheck if you accidently get something on it.

Classy.

There were several light sweaters and cardigans, a few designed for outerwear, a camisole, a couple dresses, a hat, and a purse. I was a little surprised not to see a skirt in the collection but I did love what was there.

Also. One of the prettiest cabled sweaters I’ve ever seen.

The book also details how to go about measuring, fitting, and sizing your new classy wardrobe. There were clear instructions and diagrams all the way through. Most of the patterns use needles between size 5 and 7. There are a few size 3, and the projects that are felted use 10.5. I’d recommend to intermediate knitters who want a really nice project but don’t want to go highly complicated.

About the Book
Knit your own couture wardrobe!

As a knitter, you know the appeal of creating a piece that can go from home to office, from weekday to weekend--and, most importantly, that looks flattering on your figure. But that can be easier said than done! Until now.

Knitwear designer Alex Capshaw-Taylor has created a collection of 19 knitted garments and accessories featuring timeless, high-fashion designs that are refreshingly easy to wear.

In "Dressed in Knits," you'll experiment with a variety of techniques including multidirectional knitting, colorwork (intarsia and stranded), cabling, and more. Unique to this guide is helpful information devoted to educating knitters on couture details that produce designer quality finished pieces. Alex will demonstrate proper seeming, picking up stitches, applying beads, turning a hem, creating pockets, steeking, adding zippers to knitwear, and more. Helpful tips on styling finished garments will also be sprinkled throughout the book, like how adding a belt to a piece can change the silhouette giving it a totally different look.

"Dressed in Knits" isn't just another knitting book. It's your fashion-forward guide to a whole new wardrobe

Amazon | Goodreads | Ravelry

Free Spirit Knits

Free Spirit Knits by Anne Podlesak
Genre: Knitting
ISBN: 9781620339497
Published:  November 13th 2015 by Interweave Press
Rating: 4

This was a really cute, fun book. Really nice designs, lots of orange and blue and brown and gold, solid bases with strips of simple fair isle patterns worked into the edges or the middle, or simple lace worked down the back of an otherwise solid sleeve. I love the southwest, and the patterns were reminiscent of the places they were named after. I really liked all the patterns, except one really awful random sweater that I don’t think anyone with any friends would wear in public. Some of them really represented the landmark or location they were named after, but others just looked free-spirit-ish because of the other clothing the models were wearing.

Most of the patterns are worked size 5-7 needles, with some smaller stuff thrown in there too. Each pattern has several photographs and charts. The sweaters have drawings of the composition. It is mostly sweaters, a few wraps and shawls, a hat, a pair of socks, a scarf, and a cowl. Recommended for intermediate knitters who have their hearts set on Nevada and Wyoming’s autumn nights.

About the Book
Knit your wildest dreams using windswept color and texture!

In "Free Spirit Knits" author Anne Podlesak shares a gorgeous collection of 20 knitted garments and accessories that combine the richly-colored beauty of the high desert with a sense of play and adventure.

The pieces, for both men and women, have beautiful silhouettes and rich color palettes. From a gorgeous knitted cardigan-style coat (Grand Canyon Coat) to monochromatic knitted socks (Petroglyph Socks) to the lace knitting techniques showcased in the Aspens sweater, you'll love creating each stunning project. Wild-at-heart knitters of every skill level will find something to make and love.

Whether your nearest canyon is made of rock or skyscrapers, treat yourself to the collection that will see you knitting off into the sunset.

Amazon | Goodreads | Ravelry

Poetic Crochet

Poetic Crochet: 20 Shawls Inspired by Classic Poems by Sara Kay Hartmann
Genre: Crochet
ISBN: 9781632500069
Published: October 22nd 2015 by Interweave Press
Rating: 4

If you like shawls that are elegant, artistic, and inspiring, this is the book for you. This is a stunning compilation of different crochet lace shawls inspired by different well known poems. There is a variety of shape, size, weight, texture, and pattern, but each is beautiful and distinct in it’s own right.

Now I prefer a heavier weight of yarn, larger hook, and simple stitches. Almost all of the patterns used DK weight, and the ones that used lace weight still used a larger hook. Some people won’t like that (or even consider it lace) but I really like it. I like working big, I can see what I’m doing, and I think the intricate stitching looks nicer with larger stitches. The stitches themselves were also not very complicated, just a really nice arrangement of beginner and intermediate stitches. This isn’t an advanced lace shawl book. It’s for beginner/intermediate crocheters ready for their next new, big project.

I would have liked for each pattern to have the poem it’s based off of written near it. It was done for just one of the patterns (Traveler) and I would have liked the others to be there as well. I can’t help but wonder if they were all supposed to have quotes on them? Why would just one have it? Lastly I would have liked to see the flat photograph (or at least a full diagram or drawing of the pieces). As lovely as the artistic photographs are, it’s very helpful to see the piece laid out flat.

Also the author’s name was spelled wrong on the back, so I’m not sure how well the inside and the patterns were edited. But we’ll give the editors the benefit of the doubt.

 

About the Book
Crocheted shawls inspired by classic poetry!

Just as poetry laces together the simplest of words into dramatic lyrical pieces, "Poetic Crochet" uses basic stitches to create a romantic, breathtaking collection of shawls and wraps.

When creating this classic, wearable collection of shawls, wraps, and stoles, you'll explore a variety of shawl shapes, construction techniques, borders, and edgings. Author Sara Kay Hartman shares her tips for selecting the fibers that work best in shawl making, how to achieve a beautiful drape, how to play with gauge when crocheting shawls, and more.

The patterns in "Poetic Crochet" won't require any special technique knowledge, but rather they have been designed to highlight the simple sophistication achievable with the most basic of stitches. Crocheters with any experience level, beginner to advanced, will find something rewarding--and poetic--in this inspired collection of 20 projects.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Ravelry

Things to do with finished coloring books

So we all know that coloring books are great. But really what do you do with them when you’re done? You can’t throw them away, and you really don’t want to just leave them hanging around and not use them for anything. Both of those options feel so wasteful.

The real questions is, what can you do with paper? When you think about it that way, the world is yours.

So I’ve put together a list of things to do with completed coloring book pages! I got so excited about this I made a pinterest board with all the ideas!

Follow The Life and Lies of an Inanimate Flying Object's board Completed Coloring Book Pages on Pinterest.

Cover the playroom walls
So much better than wallpaper. Especially if the patterns are based on Wallpaper. Also did you know that coloring posters are a thing?

Use as wrapping paperApparently they make coloring wrapping paper… why buy it when you’ve already bought a coloring book? This works well for small packages. You can wrap a larger box with several pages taped together.

Review: Last Man Standing

Last Man Standing (unabridged) by David Baldacci, read by Jason Culp
Genre: Crime Thriller unabridged
ISBN: 9781594830808
Published: November 2001 (abridged), re-released October 3, 2015 (unabridged)
Rating: 4

I really enjoyed this book. It started off fast paced and exciting and slammed you with questions, and then kept you going the whole way through. One thing I really liked was it let you in on one secret at a time, one bad guy at a time, one betrayal at a time. You think you have it, but then realize it’s so much more complicated the further into the plot you go.

There were a lot of different characters, and there were a few parts where all the different FBI agents started running together. It sorted itself out though. Some characters I felt like I didn’t know very well, or I would have liked to get to know them more, but in the end you knew everything you needed in order for the book to be successful.

There was one thing I didn’t like. And I didn’t just dislike it, it really annoyed me. There is a psychiatrist in the book, named Claire Daniels. I like Claire Daniels. But the problem with the character is she is so darn stereotypical that it made me almost want to stop reading. Like, straight up classic “how does that make you feel,” and “Let’s talk about your daddy issues.” At one point it felt like a parody it was so bad. Look, I know some shrinks pull that stuff, but for the most part, that’s not what happens in a psychiatric session. And I know that both from research and from first-hand experience. If you’re going to put a mind-doctor in your book, do some research. Go see one. Talk to them. Pick their brains. pretend to be your character and role-play with them. Clearly there was a lot of research done for this book what with all the locations and guns and FBI stuff. Why a psychiatrist-study didn’t make the list I’ll never know.

Even with the annoying character (and voice, for that matter) of Claire Daniels, the book was exciting and fulfilling at the end. the good guys won, the bad guys died, and the people who were hurt got their revenge. It was narrated by Jason Culp who did a great job of everyone but Dr. Daniels (who sounded annoying only because she was annoying, so in a way I guess that was perfect).

Content/Recommendation: Blood and guts, violence and sex, guns and explosions. Ages 18+

About the Book
It took 10 seconds for Web London to lose everything: his friends, his team, his reputation. Point man of the FBI's super-elite Hostage Rescue Team, Web roared into a blind alley toward a drug-dealer's lair only to meet a high-tech, custom-designed ambush that killed everyone around him.

Now coping with the blame-filled words of anguished widows and the suspicions of colleagues, Web tries to put his life back together with the help of his psychiatrist, Dr. Claire Daniels. To do so he must discover why he was the one man who lived through the ambush - and find the only other person who came out of that alley alive...a 10-year-old boy who has since disappeared.

Web's search leads him from inner-city Washington, DC, to the rolling hills of Virginia horse country - while people connected to him are violently silenced. Acting on his instincts, Web believes he knows where the killer will strike next. Only this time, he may not survive the attack.

Last Man Standing is an explosive psychological thriller about a man desperate to find answers - from the secret terrors he has kept from himself to his unbearable guilt. His fight to save himself and those he cares for will come at a high cost...and threaten everything he has grown to believe in.

About the Author
David Baldacci published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996. A major motion picture adaptation followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 30 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide. David has also published five novels for younger readers, including the #1 bestseller The Finisher, which is in development for feature film, and its #1 bestselling sequel, The Keeper.

A lifelong Virginian, David received his Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C.

While David is involved with several philanthropic organizations, his greatest efforts are dedicated to his family’s Wish You Well Foundation®. Established by David and his wife, Michelle, the Wish You Well Foundation supports family and adult literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of literacy and educational programs. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, more than 1 million new and gently used books have been collected and distributed through food banks to families in need.

David and his family live in Virginia.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Audible | Author

Unexpected Cables

Unexpected Cables; Feminine knitted garments featuring modern cable knitting
by Heather Zoppetti
Genre: Knitting
ISBN: 9781620338513
Published: October 2nd 2015 by Interweave Press
Rating: 4.5

Amazon | Goodreads | Author | Ravelry

This is a book of cable patterns for knitters who are bored with other cable patterns. There are lots of patterns out there but when you’ve been knitting for any length of time, you feel like you’ve seen it all, and you’d really like to see something new. Remember when sideways-knit sweaters became a thing? I remember. But now even that’s a “same-old same-old.”

These patterns are a combination of different ways to use cables with interesting construction techniques. There are some simple, some complex. And don’t get me wrong, not all of them are “the new big thing.” But they are all really nice patterns. There’s also a good combination of lace-weight all the way up to medium weight. nothing bulky, but some really nice warm sweaters and hats.

I’d definitely recommend this book to someone familiar with cables (the book doesn’t include pages of instruction like some do, it assumes you know how to make cables if you buy an advanced cable book), but also wants something unique and interesting.

About the Book

Take knitted cables from heirloom to vavoom!

In "Unexpected Cables" author Heather Zoppetti has crafted a fresh, modern, flattering collection of 18 knitted garments. She perfectly captures the essence of the iconic knitted cable and makes cabled designs decidedly fashion-forward!

The book features 3 chapters: Refined, Lace, and Abstract.Refined cables explore classic Aran cables using lightweight yarns, twisted stitches, and feminine shapes.In the Lace section, Heather challenges knitters to marry together these two popular knitting techniques with spectacular results.The Abstract section focuses on unusual construction, direction, and texture in cabled projects that have edgy, urban feel. Sleek garment shapes, an interesting mix of cables and lace, and unusual construction converge to bring the generations-old tradition of cable knitting squarely into the here and now. Knitters will delight in making these intriguing, accessible creations!

About the Author

Heather Zoppetti is a knitwear designer, instructor, and author of Everyday Lace (Interweave, 2015). Her patterns have been published in many Interweave publications such as Knits, Knitscene, and Jane Austen Knits, and by yarn companies such as Manos del Uruguay, Baah Yarns, The Alpaca Yarn Company, Reywa Fibers, and Universal Yarns.

She is also the owner and founder of Stitch Sprouts, a company dedicated to helping your stitches grow. Heather lives and teaches in Lancaster, PA, and can be found at hzoppettidesigns.com and stitchsprouts.com.

Disclaimer

Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.