Monthly Digest

Monthly Digest & Wrap Up | January 2023

Hello and welcome to my monthly Digest post where I talk about the things I made, books I read, and other random things I did in January. This first month of 2023 had a few ups and downs, but over all it was a good start to the new year. I actually read not one, but two books! I also completed a lot of projects that were lingering on my needles.

Books

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, I ended up giving this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed the story and I realized that Bardugo’s writing really pulled me in pretty quickly. I cared about characters quickly and needed to keep reading to find out what happens next. I actually have the second book in the series on loan from the library and I plan on getting than read ASAP because I enjoyed the first so much.

Knit 2 Socks in 1: The Easiest Method Ever for Knitting Two Socks at Once by Safiyyah Talley, this knitting reference book I picked up back in October at NY Sheep and Wool festival. I really have wanted to learn to make socks from a sock tube and I thought this book would be perfect. She does a really good job of describing the process and I am hoping to tackle this type of project this year and will for sure have this book open next to me.

Crochet & Knitting

Baby sweater wit textured yoke

Anker’s Sweater (Website|Ravelry), I already wrote up my stand alone post on this project because I really loved the process and outcome. You can find the post linked here, Finished Object | Anker’s Sweater by PetiteKnit. It was a dream to knit and I love how adorable the tiny sweater came out.

Multi colored granny stripe scrarf handing on ladder

Granny Stripes by Lucy of Attic24 (Website|Ravelry), this was a year long scrappy project where I took a ton of leftovers and just added them to an ever growing scarf. I used the mentioned pattern as a guide in making this, but did not stick to the cast on amount.

Half of a scarf hanging out of a bucket bag.

Sophie Shawl by PetiteKnit (Website|Ravelry), This I think was my favorite make of the month. I used up some leftovers from another project and ended up making what I called my Cruella de Vil shawl because it is half black and half white. It is perfect to wrap around and keep warm as well. The knitting process was straightforward and it was a great mindless TV knit.

Gray slouchy hat.


Oslo Hat – Mohair Edition by PetiteKnit (Website|Ravelry), this is the second time I made this pattern. I ended up making this one to gift to my boyfriends Mom who loved the one I made for myself. I ended up modifying it by adding roughly an inch in length to the body of the hat to make it more slouchy.

Random Things

Mocktail in glass with sock being knitted and project bag.

Since I don’t really drink I wanted to enjoy a fun drink on New Years. I ended up coming across a recipe called Sparkling Blueberry Ginger Mocktail by Minimalist Baker. It was super yummy and easy, I plan on making it again the next time I get some blueberries. It is really nice because you can adjust it to your taste by adding more or less sparkiling water.

I also took a change this month to go to an open knit night at one of the yarn shops I shop at. I was not really sure how it was going to go because I never have gone before, but it was nice. I got to meet some new people and got some progress on one of my many WIPs. I am not sure when I will be able to go again, but I certainly plan on trying to go again.

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Current Reads and WIPs

Current WIPs and Reads | January 2023

Hello and welcome to a midmonth check-in where I am sharing the things I am currently reading and my works in progress and share how I am feeling about each of them. I am happy to report I am finally reading a bit. Not nearly as much as I have in the past, but I am making some progress in that regard. Due to this, I am reading a few books that I am going to be talking about. On top of that I have two projects I am working on as well. Without more rambling, here are my current reads and WIPs

In progress knitting projects and my eReader on my bed.

My Current Reads

I am currently about half way through Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I am buddy reading this with Misty’s Book Space and it has been really fun reading this book in small chunks and talking about it weekly. So far I am enjoying the book, the author has done a really good job with setting the mood and establishing the characters and setting. There have been a few things I could have done without, but over all I am enjoying it. I am very much in the phase of I need to keep reading to see what happens next, which has not happened in a really long time. I am very happy that it seems like my reading mojo might be returning.

The second book I am currently reading is Sundial by Catriona Ward, this was also a buddy read, but I did not keep up with it sadly. I am still reading it though and I will finish it! I will be a good buddy reading partner lol. I am enjoying this story, it is a horror thriller, but I am enjoying Ninth House a bit more at this point. But, I have a ton to read still so I am curious to see if I feel the same by the time I finish them. I think the main reason is this is more a thriller\horror where as Ninth House is more fantasy/mystery dark academia. Both are written well and, like I said, I am liking them both.

My Current WIPs

The first project I am really focusing on is the Sophie Shawl by PetiteKnit (Ravelry|Website), I started this project in December of 2022 and I would really love to finish it and use it. I am over halfway done at this point and the width of the shawl is getting smaller from here on out. I think I should be finishing it within the week. It is going to be more of a scarf than a shawl in my option. I am also enjoying making one half black and one half white, The second project I am working on, which is more of a background project is the Big Cozy Cardi by Andrea Mowry (Ravelry|Website). This is more of a long term project that I am working on a little each day. I am loving the pattern and process for sure. It is going to be a big oversized cardi with a mohair collar, so it is going to be super comfortable.

What are you currently reading or working on?

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Lists & Recommendations · To Be Read

My Entire Owned TBR | December 2022

Hello and welcome to a post where I am simply going to share some of the books that I own and want to read. I have really tried to get my TBR down to 0, and I am still working towards that goal. The main reason I want my owned TBR so low is because I really want to hear about a book or have a friend mention one to me and I can just read it as soon as I am interested to avoid spending the money and then loosing interest and it sits on my shelf forever, then I end up donating it. I am really glad that I am able to donate books, but I am always so sad to do it with books that have not been read. I am going to break down my list by format of the books. I will also add an asterisk if I also have an audiobook copy of the book. Anyway, here are the books on my owned TBR.

Physical

Ghosts of Maine by T.M. Gray

The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda*

Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh*

All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami*

The Orphan of Cemetery Hill by Hester Fox*

Mouthful of Birds: Stories by Samanta Schweblin*

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez*

Death on Gokumon Island (Book 2) by Seishi Yokomizo

eBooks

The Honjin Murders (Book 1) by Seishi Yokomizo

Sundial by Catriona Ward

At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop

Audiobook

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Not to bad at all, I have a total of 12 unread books that are waiting for me to dive into. I am really happy that I was able to get this number so low and I am looking forward to continuing towards my goal of 0 books. I am also making a move towards ebooks slowly. The main reason being room, it is just not feasible for me in the space I am in to keep a lot of books or have books on hand. I also am able to access my library to save some money and still enjoy one of my passions.

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Monthly Digest

Monthly Digest | April 2022

Hey all and welcome to a bit of a review of the previous month! Spring has officially sprung bringing with it a ton of rain and pollen. While I did really enjoy falling asleep to the steady rain this past month, I am not too thrilled with the pollen that is making me sneeze left and right. But, I will say overall this month has kept me busy in a really good way!

Reading

The first book I read this month was The War of the Poor by Èric Vuillard. I originally picked this book up because I read a book by the author in the past. While I really enjoyed the writing style of this book, I was not too keen on there not being footnotes or endnotes to support their nonfiction book. I will be honest though, I am not sure if the intention of this book was meant to be nonfiction as well so I decided to do a little digging. The reason I had the expectations of this book being nonfiction is due to it’s tags on goodreads; History, Nonfiction, French History, but on the publishers site is quoted as saying, “A dazzling piece of historical re-imaginingPan Macmillan. So, I feel like individuals are mislabeling this historical fiction novella as nonfiction, which is unfortunate. Obviously, this is no fault of the author by any means, but it does change how I see this novella. The writing was engaging to say the least. This was a topic I studied a lot during my time in University, but it was really interesting seeing it portrayed in this manner. Even though I read about this time in history I was not bored or felt like I was experiencing Déjà vu. I read it in two sittings and I only put it down the first time because I needed to get to sleep. Overall, I ended up giving the book 3 stars!

Crochet, Knitting and Crafting

I completed two large projects this month, the first being a Ranunculus, my first wearable and I am actually quite proud of it. I ended up wearing it the day after I finished it! I can see why so many people love this pattern, it was a project I never hesitated to pick up and it worked up quite quickly. It had some new things I needed to learn, but I am always open to learn something new.

Ranunculus Sweater – Short Sleeves

The second big project I finished was my Saraya Shawl, which I plan on wearing to a friends wedding later this Spring. This pattern was written by Saysha Greene and was published in Worsted. It was a really fun knit that challenged me, but didn’t leave me burnt out.

Saraya Shawl

Life

This month I did a lot of fun things, especially since the weather started to warm up. I had a really lovely date with my boyfriend to celebrate our anniversary where we got to have a really delicious meal while enjoying the beautiful weather outdoors. Then we adventured to our favorite ice cream shop and enjoyed them while hanging out on a bench talking and people watching.

I also went on a few adventures with my friends. I went to the movies for the first time in YEARS, which was nice because no one else was there really. So the two of us were not holding back our reactions to the movie in the slight, it was funny because the few other people watching the movie did the same thing. Then, with another friend of mine we went yarn shop hopping, I ended up picking up yarn for a few projects I want to make this year. We ended up going to about 8 shops, the discounts were so good I could not resist. I would have bought this yarn anyway, just for later down the line. We also ended up getting takeout after all that shopping and the food was just AMAZING!

This month was really great, mainly because I was able to hangout and create some great memories with others. I really hope to have a few picnics with some of my other friends I need to catch up with in the upcoming months.

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Lists & Recommendations

My Favorite Books of 2021

Hello and welcome to a bit of a throwback to 2021! I wanted to take a moment and share some of my favorite reads of the past year and give them a bit of a shoutout. Last year I did not do great with my reading numbers, I read about half as much as a usually do, but I am happy to say there were a few I really enjoyed. Here is a list of the ones that stuck out to me the most in no particular order.

The Books

Dune by Frank Herbert

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

Tokyo Ueno Station by Miri Yū

Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann

White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad

Later by Stephen King

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by Donald J. Robertson

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Hauls & Unboxings

Barnes and Noble 50% Hardcover Haul

Hello and welcome to a very surprising post. I had not expected this sale, but I was really happy that it came up because I was able to pick up some books I was putting off buying due to their price. If you did not already know, Barnes and Noble had a 50% off Hardcover sale starting on boxing day and the day after, as far as I am aware that is the length. I ended up going to BN for another reason and saw all the signs all over the store so I ended up picking up 5 books.

Photo of hauled books

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon, this is the newest book in the Outlander series, book 9. This one is also a huge book and I have wanted to pick it up, but was waiting for it to come out in softcover.

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw, this horror novella caught my eye and I have seen the cover around and I thought I would give it a shot. My understanding is this horror tale is a combination of lore from Japan and takes place in an abandoned building.

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones, I have read about 3 of Jones’ work and have generally enjoyed his stuff. I had this on my list to pick up when the softcover released, but I didn’t need to wait anymore because of this sale. He tends to write horror fiction that reflects his Native American roots.

Billy Summers by Stephen King, I enjoy Kings novels, but there are only a few I will reread and because of that I never pay full price for them. I have been waiting for this book to have its softcover release or go on sale, which yay, it did! This work of his is more thrilled than horror based, but still has his horror roots. It follows a killer for hire that will only take jobs that target bad people.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris, talk about timing with this book. I was just recommended this book by a friend and I walked into BN and it was right in front so I scoped it up! When I first read the description it sounded like a fun fiction, but the more I read it turned into a mystery thriller, which really intrigued me.

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Hauls & Unboxings

Local Indie Bookstore Haul

picture of hauled books

Hello and welcome to a small post sharing my finds at my most recent trip to an indie bookstore. I posted earlier in the week about taking a day trip with a friend and going to visit a yarn store, you can read about that here: Local Yarn Shop Haul. On this adventure we also walked around the corner and took a bit of stroll to a really lovely bookstore. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture, but this bookstore was packed with books. There was not a nook or cranny that was not filled with books and I was so excited. It was also one of the most busy indie bookstores I have seen before, which made me happy. Anyway, on to the two books I ended up picking up!

The first book that caught my eye was The Stone Face by William Gardner Smith. What first caught my attention was the black and white cover that really stood out among all the colorful and saturated colors of the other covers. This ended up being a historical fiction novel from around 1963 and this was a rerelease. This story follows a man named Simeon Brown who lost an eye in a racist attack. This story focuses on how he left America to escape racism and made a home for himself in France, which at the time was known as a safe haven for black artists. My understanding from the description is that the book mostly follows him once he is in France, but I cannot be 100% sure. I look forward to reading this ASAP. I had no idea that France was ever seen as this so I am curious to explore that.

The second book I picked up is Dune Messiah, the second book in the Dune series by Frank Herbert. I am only about 100 pages into the first book and I can tell I am going to want to continue the series so I decided to pick it up and support this indie bookstore. At first I didn’t think they had the book in stock, but a really lovely person helped me locate it. I was so thrilled because this was the one book I really had a plan of buying this day.

Anyway, while this is a small haul, I am really happy with the books I found and added to my TBR. The past few months my book hauling has slowed quite a bit and has been more meaningful and honestly, I am really happy about that.

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Hauls & Unboxings

Books I Bought at an Indie Bookshop While Visiting Family

Hello and welcome to a very specifically themed book haul. I have not done a standalone book haul in a while, but I recently traveled a bit to spend time safely with family in the middle of the woods. Side note, being in the middle of the woods and away from huge crowds of people did wonders for my reading. You can see this in my post called, Books I Took On Vacation and Did I finish Them?. Anyway, when I was there I decided to stop at an independent bookstore to support them, but also buy some books that take place in the general vicinity or state I was in. That way when I miss my family or want to trick my brain into thinking I am somewhere else relaxing I can pick of one of these books/souvenirs.

The Books

Wild! Weird! Wonderful! Maine. by Earl Brechlin, is a nonfiction book that accounts the “out there” history of Maine from ghost stories to aliens, Inventors to interesting people. It just sounded like a fun look at the legends, myths, and the not so known facts and stories about Maine.

The House at Lobster Cove by Jane Goodrich, this historical fiction novel follows a wealthy man named George Nixon Black who wasn’t very social, but liked in a house known by many. It seems like while it is know by many, the house was not visited often by others. This story seems to lift the veil of this mans private life in this beautiful house.

The Field House: A Writer’s Life Lost and Found on an Island in Maine by Robin Clifford Wood, is a nonfiction novel following the life of an author by the name of Rachel Field. She was a very prolific author who won tons of awards, but her name has been lost to history. The author of this book takes a look at her life and her home to get to know Field’s.

Writing on Stone: Scenes from a Maine Island Life by Peter Ralston, his nonficiton novel takes a look at Gott’s Island and its history, but also the story of a family. At least to the best of my knowledge from the description.

A Haunting Fog by Heidi Martin Washburn, is a fictional novel that follows Madelyn Davis during a tough time in her life. It is affecting her in every where to the point her boss tells her to take a break. During this break Madelyn becomes a caregiver of an older women who has secrets of her own and mystery begins to unfold.

I am really looking forward to all of these books for different reasons, but each one just sounds like a story I can easily fall into depending on my mood. Darn being a mood reader! I really do like how I picked up a wide range of books, fiction and nonfiction so I can explore Maine in various ways while I remember the memories I shared with my family while in that state. Also, helping support indie bookstores is another huge bonus!

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Reading Challenges

2021 Mid-Year Check-In

Hello lovely people and welcome to my 2021 mid-year check in for my goals. If you would like to see my origional post you can find that here, Reading Challenge | 2021 Reading Goals. I went kind of easy on myself this year, but to be honest the 2020 was a bit hectic in quite a few ways. I wanted to really tailor my goals to what I truly wanted and not try to compete with anyone.

Use Library Monthly

So far I have stuck to this goal very well. Even if I owned a book I used my local library to read the book digitally when on the go or used the library as my only copy of a book. I am still not comfortable going to borrow a physical copy of books just yet, so I am using their digital services at this point of the year,

Twelve Non-fiction Books

I am actually ahead on this goal, which thrills me honestly. I have read a total of 9 non-fiction books at this point. The books I have read that meet this goal are; A Promised Land by Barack Obama, Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi by Richard Grant, White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer, The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein and Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde.

Read 50 Books

I am excited to say I am also ahead on this goal as well, at the time of writing this I have read a total of 42 books! If you want the most up to date read count for the year you can check out my goodreads challenge page.

This is where my goals kind of take a turn. The past few ones I have been pretty on top of, but from here on out I have made progress in almost each of the goals, but have not quite on track. Ooops.

Read International Booker Prize Shortlist 2020

The good news is I have read two books from this list, you can see a more detailed post talking about Hurricane Season and The Memory Police here: Reading Challenge | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1 Update. The bad news is I have 4 more to read. I will say, I am glad I have 6 months to read 4 books, that is very doable and I plan on continuing to work towards achieving this goal.

Read The Farseer Trilogy & Liveship Traders Trilogy

Once again, I have read two books towards this goal. I have read the first two books of The Farseer Trilogy, which I really enjoyed so I cannot wait to continue. I do have all the books either physically or digitally to meet this goal and I plan on doing just that.

Reread The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilology

This is where I start to hang my head in shame. I have not attempted to pick up these books at all so far this year. I love them so much, but the mood has not hit me at all the first half of the year. I am hoping that this changes very soon.

Keep TBR under 10 Books

Last year I got my TBR down to 0 books. I wanted to keep my owned TBR under 10 books going forward, but I am at about 30 books as of writing this. I am not totally happy with it being this high, but I am really happy that it is not as high as it once was. This is what happens when you have some holidays, birthdays, and sales.

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | December 2020

Hello and welcome to the last wrap up of 2020. I am going to make this one short and sweet since we are already in 2021, but I wanted to share the books I ended up finishing and mini reviews for each of them. I am going to be posting a whole year post either tomorrow or in the next few days. I currently have some rare time off so I am really taking this time to relax and not put pressure on myself. I will be uploading more regularly after the first week of January.


The IncarnationsThe Incarnations by Susan Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel was just something outside of the genre it was labeled as. It is a thriller, fantasy, and historical fiction all mixed into one. This book follows a cab driver in Beijing and the story goes through time as you learn about his past lives as he does. Each life had its own chapter where you explored the lives of these two souls, the lives they lived varied quite a lot and they endured a ton as well (violence, sexual violence, and suicide to name a few). The writing itself was beautiful, and the way the author organized the book was perfect. At no point did I think the pacing was off or was bored. I was glued to this book when I was able to find time to pick it up. Another aspect I enjoyed was the fact that the author intertwined these stories with Chinese folklore, classic, and history.

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An Orchestra of MinoritiesAn Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, this is a very imaginative story. I really loved the premise of the tale and I really enjoyed that it was narrated by a guardian spirit called a chi. The writing itself was really wonderful and I think the author has a gift for sure. Unfortunately, this book was filled with female objectification and I can only hope that the authors purpose in this is to bring light to this. The main character cannot take any responsibility and is pig headed. He commits a horrible act who hurts someone he is meant to “love”. I put it into quotes because it isn’t love. The women in this novel are nothing more than their use to the main character. I had such high hopes for this novel, while I did not like this tale at all I will be checking out the authors other work because their writing itself was done very well.

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Royal HolidayRoyal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very cute read and a perfect little holiday book to read during December. When I picked this up I had no idea it was a series…oops! Either way I enjoyed it and the writing was good.

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Lovecraft CountryLovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderful collections of historical horror/science fiction that show cases the “typical” horror and the horrors faced by American Americans.

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The Existence Of AmyThe Existence Of Amy by Lana Grace Riva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A detailed review is to come, but this was a beautifully written novel that follows the main character through their personal struggles with mental health, specifically with OCD. I read this in a single day because the story itself was compelling, but also the writing was and methods used were perfect.

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December Stats: 9 books, 2868 pages, 8 fiction, 1 nonfiction, 3 ebooks, 1 hard cover, 5 softcover, 9 owned books, 1. 5 star, 6 4 star, 1 3 star, and 1 2 star.

What was your favorite or least favorite read of December or 2020 as a whole?

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