Saturday, June 30, 2012

You put the lime in the strawberry and bake it all up

cupcake saturday

You may now commence the drooling.

A few weeks ago, I was rather, well "inspired" by the idea of lime cupcakes with strawberry icing and strawberry cupcakes with lime frosting. I'm not sure what exactly brought that thought on, but I knew it had to be done. I had queued up this recipe for key lime cupcakes ages ago, but I wasn't about to go out and bother trying to find key lime juice, or heaven forbid, juice the lime myself. Especially because the last time I was sent on an emergency Kroger run, I was told we needed  four ounces of lime juice which I somehow managed to mangle to four containers for the margarita machine.

I don't think we're ever going to run out of lime juice. You know what that means? It means I should make more guacamole, that's what.

IMG_3037Anyways, so I used regular old lime juice for these cupcakes, and used my favorite strawberry frosting recipe for the adorable cupcakes. To top it off, because I can't leave anything well enough alone, I dumped some lime zest on top, and then proceeded to have to tell all of the little kids who came for cupcakes that no, I didn't put vegetables on their cupcakes and they wouldn't be able to taste it.

The verdict? Apart from the mistake when it came to kid-friendly lime zest? Meh. I'm not a huge lime fan (don't ask me why I keep making desserts I'm not in love with), but I still gobbled up a fair amount of cupcakes. The recipe made a ridiculous amount, and they were sufficiently moist and delicious. Paired with the strawberry frosting, they were amazing!

 Still, I think I'll keep looking for my perfect lime cupcake recipe. That, or I'll stick to lime-bars. Either way. I really, really wish I had used some neon green food coloring. I know it wouldn't have affected the taste, but I think I would have enjoyed these cupcakes more then!

And since I can't mention the word "lime" without the Muppets getting stuck in my head... I seriously wish this was my ringtone for my phone. I might actually remember to answer it if it were!

Friday, June 29, 2012

All Day Lace Ensemble

finished object friday

So, I've basically decided that from now on, I'm going to take at least one photo a week of a previously knit but unphotographed finished object. I've had... issues... lately with taking photos. Not with finishing projects, but just getting over that last hurdle of a photograph, which is just silly. To start off, I took a photo of my All Day Lace Scarf.


I talked about the original project for this yarn, my Wild Vest a few FO Fridays ago. After the disaster of a project, I still had a skein left, so I whipped up an All Day Lace Beret. Well, whip up is a bit of a misnomer. Rather, frogged and knit and frogged and knit over and over again until I finally got a cute little beret out of it. A cute little beret that didn't match a single thing I own.

So, to fix that little problem, I thought hey! I could just knit a matching scarf. So I did. This scarf was easy peasy. Great autopilot knitting. Also great for commentary from professors. I probably could have made it longer (I still had eons of yarn left from the frogged vest), but at some point, you get tired of knitting yarn overs.

The yarn, NaturallyCaron Spa, unfortunately doesn't like to behave. It curls like no other, and other than being a dainty thing to match with my hat, I don't see much use of this scarf. I do, however, have every intention of knitting matching mittens. I mean, I still can't wear the hat and scarf with my normal clothes, so I might as well complete the outfit. Especially when you consider I still have a basketball size ball of yarn... Yikes.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Always the Baker, Never the Bride

book review thursday

book review thursday I suppose that in this case, you get what you paid for. I downloaded Always the Baker, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker because it was free, and man did it show. What shocked me was that it wasn't only available for online download, but people actually shell out $12.00 for a paper copy. Let me just say, it was not worth it!

What originally caught my attention was the title. I love to bake and cook, and I love reading and watching other people do the same. Some of my favorite books and movies involve making food, and I thought this might be a nice addition to my chick-flick shelf. Uh, no. While I knew that there were going to be heavy-handed religious overtones, that really wasn't what bothered me. You want to pray to get your man? Fine, whatever, it's something that's important to the character, and if the character is written well, I can totally get behind it. The problem with this book was that, well, the characters weren't written well. This felt incredibly juvenile- not because of the lack of sex (because I'm kind of prudish, fading to black is something I vastly prefer to graphic detail!), but because of the poor quality of writing.

I struggled to find any actual adjectives to describe the main character, other than "perfect". There was no real personality. Every other character was worse. The scenes from Jackson's point of view were absolutely laughable because I don't know a single person,m let alone man, who thought the way he did. It was really stiff and awkward. Whine, whine, whine, I'm torn between living my life and living for my dead wife. Really? Because you haven't shown it. Every other character seemed to be the token placement, and there was no real subplot to keep the relationship going. The cutesy phrases that the author was clearly proud of (the "hens" the "after care") were quite honestly, lame. The sisters weren't individualized people,  just one collective annoyance, when the author had so much potential. She could have given them each a personality to help both move along and regress the relationship between the main characters. Instead, they were one giant, cardboard cut-out of older sisters.

 In terms of formatting, the way the author wrote their accents drove me nuts. She chose a random word in their sentence to italicize, when every character from the book is supposedly from the same place. Either over-enunciate everyone's accent, or don't spell out anything! It was especially irritating because the words that were italicized were rarely ones that would have been especially accented in the first place. The second formatting complaint I have was that Bricker put dialogue from two different people on the same line, without any indication of a new speaker. That's just basic grammar 101. It's confusing for the reader, and poor form to boot.

Finally, the actual topic of food and diabetes was barely even mentioned, which was a real disappointment for me. The creme brulee cake was mentioned over and over again, without any new culinary masterpieces from Emma Rae. She was never actually baking, apart from perhaps one or two scenes. The diabetes was barely ever addressed, and when it was, it was absolutely ridiculous. While Id don't personally have diabetes, not one of the people I've met who has had spent all of their time whining about how they could only have a SINGLE bite of a sweet, or freaked out over having enough protein. Instead, like any other diet, they knew how to get a good balance for their body.

All in all, this book had potential. The author had a good concept, but she did not execute it well. I think this book would have really benefited from a few more edits, and more realism injected into the book. It read as something very amateur, and I left the book feeling quite unsatisfied.

(1/5 stars)

(3/5 stars)

Catering to Nobody

book review thursday

book review thursday Right before my laptop bit the big one, I downloaded Catering to Nobody from OneClick. I'm not entirely sure what captivated my interest- maybe it was the title. At any rate, after adding it to my iPod, I promptly forgot about it.

In my utter desperation for lack of things to do, I sifted through my iPod to find more things to listen to, while computer-less. Catering to Nobody again piqued my interest. At first, I didn't realize that it was yet another "cozy" mystery, so when the first attempted murder is announced, I was quite surprised.

The rest of the book followed a reasonably predictable matter. The ending was definitely something I didn't expect, but Davidson still managed to artfully weave in niggling clues without being too vague. I had thought right off the back that Patty Sue's frequent visitations were odd, but I certainly didn't expect the giant mess that it had caused. The attempted, and actual murderers weren't something that screamed out to me ahead of time, but once it was expressed on paper, made perfect sense.

The only thing I'm slightly concerned about is how the author is going to cope with familial murders. I can only hope she moves out of the family tree in the next few books.

I loved Marla, she was a really intriguing character, and one in which I wish the author had paid more attention to. I thought Goldie's voice was highly realistic, and her tenuous relationship with her ex-husband and son completely believable.

The only part I didn't find believable? Her relationship with Tom Schultz. I know, I know, he's supposed to be the romantic interlude, and I understand that he's going to play a larger part later in the series, but it seems so... unappealing. He's bossy and unprofessional, and that rather irritated me. It was just a bit too far fetched t think he would take Goldie, a woman he hardly knew, out to dinner and spill juicy details of the case to her.

Apart from that slight annoyance, I really, really liked this book and am looking forward to continuing on in this series!

(4/5 stars)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Plague Bunnies

finished object friday

Alright, here's what was supposed to happen.  I was supposed to be in Austin today, visiting a few friends of mine for the weekend. I was supposed to have this lovely, long bus ride to get lots of knitting done (including the sleeves of my Beatnik which are never ending. I've ripped them out four times so far). I was supposed to get in Austin and give these bunnies to the friend I'm staying with since she's rather bunny obsessed. I was supposed to have this lovely distraction from the fact that Monkey is going to be gone for two months and I won't be able to call/hug on him whenever I like.


The reality? I wound up getting sick the day Monkey left, withered away from the plague for a few days until I inevitably cancelled the trip to Austin. I managed to get my mother sick, and then promptly managed to starve and dehydrate myself to an even worse position and slept for 75% of every day this week. I didn't wind up giving these bunnies to my friend, I haven't actually knit anything in a long time, and I still have problems standing for a few minutes without the floor spinning.

Go figure. On the plus side, I'm no longer contagious, or really sick at all apart from being holy-cow dehydrated (hense the inability to stand. I'm nothing if not unbelievably STUPID) I've been spending lots of time with our birds (they're the only ones willing to listen to my pathetic croaking after a few minutes), and I've never been as well rested before in my life. Also, the CareNow people know every member of my family because at this point, we've all been in for the same stupid bug. AND I have these cute bunnies to play with. Cute  bunnies that took about thirty minutes to make, used up all of those random bits of yarn I had been saving for no good reason (clearly, I psychically knew I'd stumble across this pattern), and are really fun to through at your sister when she's refusing to obey your every whim when you clearly have the plague and are MOMENTS from death.


As cute as they are, and this may be the  residual bug talking, but I'm starting to think the bunnies are conspiring about something. Maybe they've been spending too much time with my sister...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dead in the Family

book review thursday

book review thursdayWell, for once Harris' title actually made sense. Dead in the Family was quite a bit more cohesively themed than the last few books, and for that, I was thankful. While I wasn't absolutely in love with the story, I certainly enjoyed it. Not only did we get to venture more into the world of actual murder mysteries (though I was a bit put off by the fact that Harris makes a distinct impression to make the murder victim interesting and made me suspect a significant role in the rest of the book, only to kill him off a few pages later), but we also got some vampire resolution. The issue of Bill's infidelity with his maker was finally addressed via the introduction of Eric's maker. Sookie finally seems to be calming down over Bill's "betrayal", and for that, I'm glad. While I certainly like her relationship with Eric more (though that may be simply because I absolutely in love with Pam, and any chance to get her into the scene is awesome in my opinion), I still did enjoy the triangle between Eric and Bill, with Sookie actually not being a judegemental pain in the ass. Both male love interest are really falling in my opinion, unfortunatley. Bill is a controlling, whiney ex-boyfriend. In this book, he decides to try the emo look, only to be rewarded with a girlfriend by Sookie (what?). Eric, on the other hand, continues to refer to Sookie as "lover" which gives me all sorts of icky feelings. Plus, Sookie is constantly denying the fact that he TRICKED HER INTO MARRYING HIM. Uh, what? Wake the heck up and notice Sook!

Uh, anyways. Back to the book. Overall, this was pretty average.  Not a mystery I solved right off the back, but it was still comfortably predictable. I enjoyed the fairy intervention, and the time Sookie spent with her little cousin, Hunter. I enjoyed Bill being reunited with his "family"- both his vampire and descendents. I didn't enjoy any of the scenes with Eric- they seemed awkward and unrealistic. Jason has finally grown up and is helping Sookie out. While the werewolf plot seemed reasonably planned out, the vampire plot came out of nowhere. I really wish there could have been more of a buildup there.

I don't know, the entire book felt rushed. That's why it really wasn't one my favorites. It was definitely a lot better than the last few though!

On another note, this post was brought to you by the parenthesis symbols. I only used about a thousand!

(3/5 stars)

Dead Reckoning

book review thursday

book review thursday I'm not sure that I can even write a proper review of Dead Reckoning. The fact of the matter is, I finished it entirely too quickly to have much of it soak in!

I chose to start this while I was frantically trying to pack and clean my apartment for my move out, and it certainly made the hours spent vacuuming (I'm not kidding, hours) fly by. Of course, that meant I barely paid attention to the plot, but if it wasn't captivating enough to hold my attention, it wasn't really great to begin with.

What I do remember about this book: I'm glad they finally laid the whole Debbie Pelt thing to rest, it was really getting old. Sookie has other things to feel guilty about. I'm extremely glad that she was still shook up by the massacre, but disappointed that Harris chose to make Eric an ass about it. While yes, it does seem in his character to be joyous over his victory, it doesn't seem in his character to angrilly feed on Sookie despite her pain. It certainly didn't seem in Sookie's character to lie down and take it! On the other hand, trouble in paradise means more relationship drama in the next book, and it was obvious that Sam is coming  up as a major contender. I'm really glad, as I really enjoy his character in the books (the TV show too, but not as a possibility for a relationship with Sookie). He's definitely shown himself to be by far the most caring man in her life, even if he does have a tendency to be a judgmental jerk.

In any case, the plot was underwhelming, the story was too. I liked seeing more of Dermott, and I hope he stays with Sookie for a while. I'm also glad they resolved the whole Grandma's-hooking-up-with-a-fairy thing, and that Cataliades were there (gosh, I love his character. Probably because I picture him as my tax professor), and I'm really excited to see what's going on with him. This just wasn't a fabulous book to me, not bad, but not great either. I'm glad that Harris is going to be putting the series to a rest soon, as I think it's run it's course, as much as I love the characters and ideas. Unfortunately, I'll be waiting forever and a day to read the next installment, since it's got a ridiculous hold at my library, and no digital or audiobook file available to download. At least it'll give me an opportunity to read something else!

(3/5 stars)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chocolate Oranges!

cupcake saturday

So last week, I talked about the big oops that happened with my orange cake and orange frosting. I mentioned that I did manage to save the butter and orange flavoring. After some fast thinking, I decided that rather than toss the butter, I would go ahead and make icing. A family friend's birthday was in a week, and the icing could chill out in the freezer until then.


Since the family friend loves chocolate, a plain orange frosting just wouldn't do. After doing the requisite powdered sugar/orange flavor/butter/milk combo, I added some cocoa until I deemed it chocolatey enough. I was hoping to find some of Terry's Chocolate Oranges but a quick Walmart  trip yielded no results. Instead, I bought some gummy oranges for toppers and deemed it good enough.


I used my favorite doctored chocolate cake mix recipe for the cake, and was good to go! These were amazing- not your average chocolate cake at all!

Chocolate Orange Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup softened butter

  • 4 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 tablespoon orange extract

  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

  • 1/3-1/2 cup cocoa

Beat butter and orange extract until pale and fluffy, then slowly add in powdered sugar and cocoa. Add milk one tablespoon at a time, until you achieve desired consistency.

Friday, June 15, 2012


finished object friday

I think this may be my favorite FO this year as of yet, though it was probably the most irritating to knit.


As I mentioned before, I had originally intended this Dalek for Monkey's birthday. I had early cast on (while listening to a podcast on the lives of the Bronte sisters, which made for quite an interesting juxtoposition, if you were curious). I quickly realized that this was not my preferred type of knitting; it was the kind that you had to have the pattern in front of you. Consequentially it got set aide until I had more time to work on it.

Well, I finished it! My goal was to get it done before Monkey left for camp and I managed to do it! Of course, that was after I rescued it from my sister, who was convinced that it's true purpose was to be worn as a hat. After I rescued, stuffed, and knit the bottom, the Dalek soon proved to be more trouble than I had thought it would be.


The dog was, thankfully, rescued before she was exterminated.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Anatomist's Apprentice

book review thursday

book review thursday
After reading book after book of the mindless, fluffy genre, I told myself that I had to start reading stories with more substance. While I certainly wouldn't categorize The Anatomist's Apprentice as classic literature, it was at least more plot driven and less cheesy romance centered than most of my recent conquers. It also took me forever to finish listening to. I know at least in part it was due to the reader, but it also had a good chunk to do with the book itself. It dragged on and on, and while the plot was ingenious and unexpected, it had so many twists that by the end, I just didn't care anymore. The final reveal was 'meh' for me, as I hadn't been invested in a while.

The characters were... restrained at best. While I understand that propriety was key in the time period, the very essence of the characters involved were nonexistent. Other than being meek and pathetic, the main love interest, Lydia, was utterly devoid of any qualities. She was such a brief sketch of a person that I couldn't even remember her name ten minutes after finishing the book. Thomas Silkstone is only saved by this fate by being perceptive, dedicated, and damsel-in-distress-obsessed. He was really incredibly flat as well. There was very little spark  to anyone, which was a real disappointment when you have a long book like this.

Unfortunately, do to that obsession with damsels in distress, the majority of the book resembled the Dudley Do-right comic from Rocky and Bullwinkle. I couldn't seem to make myself care about "poor Lydia".

The book wasn't entirely bad, however. During the scenes not involving villains and love interests, I listened with rapt attention. Like I mentioned before, the overall plot arc was absolutely fabulous, and had great twists and turns. If the author had managed to write her characters as well as she crafted a mystery, I would have been hopelessly in love with this book. I understand that this is the beginning of the series. While I certainly won't be on the lookout for this book, I would definitely take a peek at the next book if I come across it, if only for the plot.

(3/5 stars)

From Dead to Worse

book review thursday

book review thursdayThis was another disappointing book. Harris seemed to have lost all sense of a cohesive plot. Rather than have one overarching mystery or storyline, From Dead to Worse was divided into about four distinct stories that did not meld together well at all. Each new storyline was just sort of thrown in there suddenly. If anything, the focus was on Sookie's feelings and everyday back story.

I just didn't get into the book. While there were important aspects that were resolved (the vampire hierarchy, the werewolf anarchy, and Bob the cat), none of it was done in a cohesive way- it felt very rushed and thrown together.

Honestly, apart from Bob the cat, the other storylines really should have had their own books. They were important enough issues that needed more fleshing out.The way they were written was incredibly... brief, I suppose. I never really got the opportunity to ponder a mystery or "what's going to happen" because as soon as a problem was introduced, it was resolved. Quinn's disappearing act was the only somewhat constant theme, and that was addressed two third of the way into the book (and very poorly at that).

I did, however, enjoy the build up with Sam. I think Harris is finally setting him up as a romantic possibility, without throwing in the whole kitten caboodle. I loved reading about his backstory, as it is incredibly different from the show, and I'm glad he doesn't seem to be pining for Sookie, again, unlike the show. He's more of a really good friend, good boss, and great person than the "nice guy" he seems to be on TV.

All in all, this was a let down. I'm glad I wasn't one of the people who anticipated this book for ages before reading it. I would have been miiighty ticked to be super excited for this hack job. While each of the stories were important to progress Sookie's overall storyline, they were just simply not executed as well as I would have hoped.

I am, however, excited to find out more about Sookie's fairy grandfather and I absolutely adored the surprise twist at the end- just not enough to make up for this disjointed book!

(2/5 stars)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And go get yourself some cheap sunglasses

First off, an announcement! I've been stockpiling my review for a while now, and I've finally hit the point where I'm three months ahead of the game. Since that's more than a little ridiculous, I'm going to go ahead and start posting two on Thursdays until it gets closer to when my classes start up again. And now, on to your regularly (or not) featured program!

a few of my favorite things

This entire post was really a product of bribery. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, Monkey is going to be out of town for two months, and completely out of touch for one of those months. Naturally, I'm freaking out. Before he leaves for those trips, he has been, and will be pretty unavailable anyways, and I've been sorely missing him.

When I finally saw him on Monday, I have to admit, he spoiled me. I strongly suspect this was really just him trying to bribe and distract me so  that I don't break his legs with a sledge hammer and imprison him in my spare bedroom, a la Kathy Bates.Consequentially, I made out with some serious loot! Not only did he feed me delicious things, but he also bought me Psych (admittedly, this was after months of whining) because he got an awesome deal- seasons one and two for $24. Considering my sister and I have recently bonded over a Psych marathon, it was perfect timing.

Okay, it was less of a bonding experience and more of her having pneumonia and being too weak to fight me when I took control over the living room TV and refused to stop watching it on DVR.

Nevertheless, after forcing Monkey to watch an episode, even he admits that the show is awesome and I have amazing taste, but we already knew that.

As if those things weren't wonderful enough, he bought me the third coolest pair sunglasses ever. The first coolest were a pair of my mom's from the 80s that at one point in time, were mirrored but have since been so scratched up (and peed on by one of Monkey's short term, drunken roommates), that I've been unable to wear them. The second coolest were my replacement pair- cat-eyed leopard print that are delightfully ridiculous. Then there are these.


Look at them. Look at them with awe and amazement. They are so cool. Clearly, my sunglasses taste veers toward the "more than a little obnoxious" side of the spectrum, but hey. They've got magical UV protection and look pretty darn awesome on me, if I do say so myself! And if need be, they double as manhole covers.

Monkey was undeniably sweet to me, and I'm going to be a complete basket case on Saturday. I did arrange for a mope-fest with another one of my friends though, as her boyfriend will be out of town as well. This mope-fest involves a road trip, and I'm super excited about seeing her. I'm thinking I'll probably continue my "house-wife training" teach her how to cook a few more awesome things.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


start something sunday

Saroyan has been in my queue for a while, but I was unsure as to what I would knit it out of. After my family's last trip to Destin, I knew I had found the yarn: Alpaca Yarn Co.'s Astral. The yarn is, well, weird. It's almost like knitting with human hair- the strands are long, and there is very little twist. There's also some serious shine to the yarn, which is something I don't necessarily like, and it certainly makes photographing it more than a little difficult.


I initially cast this on while listening to the audiobook of Dying for Chocolate, and managed to put in two leaves before I finally called it quits. Unfortunately, I think this is going to chill on my needles for a while. All of my attention-required knitting time has been eaten up by my Beatnik and Beekeeper's quilt.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

How the cake crumbles...

cupcake saturday

I have already mentioned my delicious orange cupcakes in all of their splendor, so I'm not going to go into detail about that today. We had a impromptu cookout for Memorial Weekend, and I decided to do something a bit different. I didn't want to worry about a new (or complicated, for that matter) recipe, so I opted to try the orange cupcakes in the form of a cake this time. I was going to make an orange buttercream and frost the hell out of it. I've never actually made a decent looking cake (they've all turned out, well, rather terrifying), so I wanted to try my hand out on it. Plus I thought it might be quicker than dealing with ten million cupcakes.

After the cake got to the desired doneness, I pulled it out of the oven and BAM. Disaster. Even though I waited until they were cool, greased the hell out of the pan, and was super careful to boot, the cake absolutely dissolved when I tried to get them out of the two pans. Honestly, it pissed me off more than anything else. I've never had this problem before!

Okay, once, last year for my Dad's birthday. But it was because I was using a pan for mini bundt cakes and my mom had already deemed the pan unusable. And in that case, the cake didn't crumble, it just wouldn't come out in one piece. And it was totally the pan's fault.

Instead of crying over crumbled cake, my mom and I improvised. I sent her off to the store to get some cool whip (it solves all problems), while I pulled out the parfait glasses and began to shove cake in them. The actual dinner wasn't going to be for a few hours, so they got to chill, looking rather terrifying in the meantime. I popped in a batch of Oatmeal Craisin Cookies to  make up for my culinary failure, and then I turned to the frosting.


I had already plopped the butter and orange extract into the mixer (I let the butter sit in the mixer until the cupcakes are cool, otherwise I wind up having to nuke it in the microwave and wind up melting three sticks of butter before I finally get one properly softened), so I was afraid it was a lost cause. I knew that frosting would be too heavy for a parfait, so I resigned myself to just making the frosting and freezing it- until I had a fabulous idea.

PSYCH. I'm leaving this on cliffhanger. I'll tell you how I managed to save the frosting next week.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Shifting Sands

finished object friday

Guess what I finished!


The summer of UFOs has commenced! I actually finished most of the projects on my list, I just haven't been that good at actually writing about them. Pure laziness, I suppose. I also took a bunch of photos of random projects (but the most recent ones, unfortunately, didn't turn out so well, so I'll have to try that again). I should be set for FO Friday for a while now! You know, provided that I actually get off my keister and write about them.

All of that rambling and nothing about this project! I've already said before that my shifting sands was a wonderfully easy autopilot project, and I learned how to cable without a cable needle because of it (so much easier with small cables!). I used caron simply soft that was in my stash for, well, forever, and gave it some fringe because I love fringe, and because it helped the project stop rolling. Now I have half a skein of the yarn left, when this was supposed to help me reduce my acrylic supply. Oh well... I also have entirely too many scarves at this point, but they're my absolute favorite thing to knit. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dead as a Doornail

book review thursday

book review thursday I'm really tired of being disappointed by books. Maybe I need to just get out of the paranormal genre in general, maybe I need to start reading Great Literature (TM), or maybe I need to just give up any expectation of a good book. In any case, the most recent book I read in the Sookie Stackhouse series, Dead as a Doornail was not up to my standards. Keep in mind that my standards for these books? Very, very low.

For starters, the mystery was absolutely ridiculous. I had figured out who the baddies were before the mystery was even introduced- and trust me, that's not something I like to do. I use books like these to check out, not to try to sleuth ahead of the main character. I don't put much, if any, thought to clues and the like while reading these kinds of books. So the fact that I figured it out really says something. The mystery/mysteries were put on the back burner at best. Someone is killing shifters- oh no! Jason is going to get killed- panic! Except... Sookie didn't. It really didn't seem to weight that heavily on Sookie's mind, and the mystery only took a couple of pages. The entire weight of the book rested on Sookie and her romantic escapades.

Alright, second big beef: the romantic escapades. I liked Sookie when I started the series. Maybe it's because I enjoy how developed her character is on the show, maybe it's because initially the author did have a sassy and imperfect main character. In any case, sassy and imperfect Sookie was not. Once upon a time, Sookie's character wasn't the object of every man's attention- if anything, many of the thoughts of the men surrounding her were freaked out about her. Now, it seems that has all gone to the way side while every male salivates over her. Uh, what? I get that she's supposed to be pretty, but when not one, not two, but at least six men are prominently vying for her attention in one book, I find it pretty hard to handle. The only good thing I suppose was that Alcide's potential as a love interest seems to be pretty much eliminated in this book, along with Calvin. Thank god. It's not that I Had anything against these characters- I absolutely love learning more about their back-stories- but pitting them again the epic love triangle of doooooom Bill versus Eric, and it was irritating. I didn't even mind Club Dead, as Bill took a back seat and really wasn't much romantic competition. More than two rivals and the author loses credibility.

Sookie's annoying dictionary of the day habit seemed to diminish, as did her reflex to refer to herself as stupid. In fact, she seemed every bit of a strong and independent woman in this book, something I really enjoyed. What I didn't enjoy was her rationalization of being raped, beaten, and almost killed by her romantic partners. Uh, no. Just no. That pretty much took all of her independence and strength and threw it out the window. I just can't get over that. I was absolutely disgusted at that point.

But, enough of the bad. There at least was some redeeming qualities to this book. Like the fact that Harris' writing skills have progressed to the point where I almost cried when Sookie lost her house. It was absolutely heart wrenching. I can't even imagine how horrible that might be, but reading that passage sure gave me an idea. Another example of Harris' writing skills? The entire werewolf subplot. Hello, heart-wrenching. It was horrible and hard to handle, and Harris portrayed it very well. I was practically screaming along side Sookie with frustration- great stuff.

What wasn't such good writing was when Harris continued to put summations of Sookie's emotions and dilemmas after essentially every few pages or so. I absolutely hate it when authors do this. It's one thing to remind after half the book- it's another to excessively abuse the tactic. This constituted abusing the tactic in my book.

Basically, this book was a huge step back for me. After the awesomeness of the last book, this was intensely disappointing.

(2/5 stars)

Friday, June 1, 2012

The end of chrysanthemums

 finished object friday

Okay, as per usual, I finished this a while ago, and honestly, I don't have much to say about it.


(Remember the emo phase? Yeah, I still have the hair. And the neon skinny jeans. And the studded belt. Not that I fit in wear them!)

I already vented about how I am a sucker for Manos del Uruguay and how I managed to buy three skeins of the same incredibly frustrating colorway, all on separate occasions, and all accidentally. Yikes. This skein (and then, the fourth skein) were completely different colors however, and I think much more pleasing. The remainder of the two ugly skeins went into monsters, if you remember. I wound up picking out the prismatic scarf pattern right off the bat, and even attempted a cast on right away- and promptly frogged it.


Low and behold, a year later the random skein was still marinating in my stash and I finally had enough. After several false starts, I managed to get going with a no-purl mod and was well on my way to some lovely autopilot knitting. After buying four skeins of that god forsaken colorway, "Chrysanthemum", I refused to buy any more, so the scarf is on the short side (exacerbated in these photos with how I was wearing it, but whatever). The resulting fabric is absolutely lovely, and I can't wait to wear it.

You know, except I finished it in time for 100 degree weather and oh yeah, living two boiling southern states. I think at the rate I'm knitting scarves, Monkey had better be stationed somewhere cold next year or I'll never get to wear them!

(Just kidding. I'll be a trainwreck if we have to move anywhere that actually gets snow during the winter. I'd be come a hermit and never get out from the covers.)

If I never hear the word chrysanthemum again, it'll be too soon.