Wolf Wing – Tanith Lee

Yes, I am a sucker for being complete.   Despite the fact that the main character kind of irritates me, I tracked down the last book in the Claidi Journals, Wolf Wing.

Claidi and Argul can finally get married, but just as they do this, they receive an unexpected summons from Argul’s grandmother, Ironel.    It turns out that Argul’s mother, Ustareth, who everyone thought was dead, is alive, and is sending for her sons, Argul and Venn.

Together with some other friends, they journey to the new continent where Ustareth has set up shop.    It’s an amazing place, with trees that produce food when you need it, and it’s lovely beyond belief.

Soon, everyone is separated, and Claidi must complete the journey alone.    She’s the first to find her way to Ustareth, who has some surprising revelations about Claidi’s past.

This book felt like a bit of an after  thought, the denouement of the larger story of the series, where everything is neatly wrapped up, and everyone lives happily ever after.   In other words, Claidi still kind of irritates me, but I’m happy to have gotten to the end of her tale.


CSA 2012, Week 4

This week’s haul was: peonies, garlic scapes, a cucumber, zucchini, basil, lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard.
I used the basil in a tuna/white bean salad I made last night that we absolutely plowed through.

I also harvested some of my peas earlier this week, along with some garden mint, and made a lovely spring lemony minted pea pasta dish.     Perfect dish for the season, and man are those peas good half an hour off the vine.

Garden Notes

I officially give up on growing cilantro.    It always bolts within about a week of me getting it to a size I can actually think about using.    And yes, it’s kind of pretty, and the bees like it, but I’m not getting any use out of this plant.    So I guess it’s supermarket cilantro for me.    At least the bunches this time of year are big enough to blanket an entire week’s worth of meals.


In other news, the clematis is finally blooming.   I was beginning to wonder, since it stuck to one sit of the trellis, has lumped up a bit at the top, and then just sat there for a while.    I think next year, I need to be a bit more aggressive about getting at least some of it to loop around the front.   At least I’ve managed to keep it off the ground, and out of the cable wire.

The Tiger in the Well – Philip Pullman

I like historical fiction.   I’m fully willing to admit that much historical fiction takes a somewhat rosy view of the past, and there’s quite a bit out there that glosses over some of the more unpleasant (to modern eyes at least) aspects of cultures in the past.

The Tiger in the Well pretty much embraces some of those less pleasant aspects of life in Victorian London, and runs with them.    I finished this book thanking various minor gods that I was born an American woman in the late 20th century.

For reasons in the last book that I will not go into because they’re fairly pivotal to that story, Sally Lockhart is now a single woman with a young daughter.    Harriet means the world to her, and Sally has built a fairly comfortable existence for the two of them.     This comes crashing down around her when a man she’s never met claims to be her husband, and Harriet’s father, and he’s done a convincing enough job that the law comes down on his side, and Sally is more or less forced to go on the run to protect Harriet.

Good lord, but were you ever pretty much screwed as a woman in that era’s legal system.    This book was fairly terrifying in places because of what other people were able to do to Sally, and her inability to get any help through the system.      She’s only able to free herself and Harriet by taking matters into her own hands, and going undercover in the household of this man.    What she finds leads far back into her past in ways she could never have imagined.

These Sally Lockhart books are really well written, but man, are they depressing.    I think I liked the first one best – they definitely get harder to read from there.    I’m really not sure I could recommend these, unless you’re trying to for the opposite of a warm fuzzy feeling from your reading.

Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge – Steuben, Maine

In an effort to find something Down East that we hadn’t done before, the BF stumbled upon the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, specifically the Petit Manan Point section in Steuben.    It was definitely the best part of our weekend.   (And I say that despite the fact that we were nearly eaten alive by bugs.    We’re definitely not going back in the summer without improved bug protection.)

The really cool thing, is we were the only people there.    We took the Birch Point Trail, which is four miles round trip, and leads out of the blueberry barrens in the center of the point, through the forest, to some coves on the shore.

The trail is in great shape – it goes over a fair amount of water, and they’ve put in some nice wooden bridges.    There are also strategically placed Adirondack chairs in a number of particularly scenic places.

The highlight of the walk for us though, was when we got the full on “you’re clearly here to eat my babies so I’m going to play injured and lead you away from nest” treatment from what appeared to be a ring necked partridge.    We dutifully followed her up the path until she disappeared, went a bit further, and then turned around and waited.    Lo and behold, we were out of sight, so she sauntered back down the trail, since she was now clearly safe.

We’re definitely going back – we’d like to walk through again when we’re not having to run away from every bit of standing water, for fear of being eaten alive.

CSA 2012, Week 3

This week’s haul was: peonies, Swiss chard, zucchini, lettuce, and beets.

The peonies are looking particularly lovely, and the living room smells divine.

In other news, my crisper is so stuffed, I’m having to come up with creative ways to store some of the produce.

I’ve also had a harvest of sorts from the garden.   I’m planning on making some Peach Lavender Jam from one of my canning cookbooks, so I’ve been clipping and drying the flowers from lavender plants as they come in.    I need 2 tbsps, but I think I’m on track to get that entirely from my own garden.

Spiritwalk – Charles de Lint

Tamson House is in Ottawa – and takes up an entire city block, a ringed fortress around a central garden.    It looks perfectly normal from the outside, but what most people don’t know is that it’s a nexus, a portal to the other worlds that touch our own.   Its garden is an echo or the original forest that covered the world.

This book continues the story of the house, which began in Moonheart.   Jamie Tam died defending the house in Moonheart, but lives on as the guardian of the house, able to talk to some of the residents of the house through his old computer.    There are a number of residents of the house – it’s always attracted a creative, bohemian bunch that don’t really below anywhere else.    However, since Jamie is technically dead, his niece Sara is the new owner of the house, and she’s off traveling in the Otherworld, leaving the faithful Blue and several others in charge of Tamson House while she’s gone.

The book is a bit disjointed, starting with a couple of stories that were published elsewhere first, and then giving a couple of episodes in the life of friends Esmeralda and Emma, before leading to the final action of  the book, where the house is threatened again, and everyone must work together to save it.

I enjoyed the story because I really did enjoy Moonheart, but I have to say, the flow wasn’t there, and the disjointed nature of the book made it a little less enjoyable than Moonheart.    Still, it’s a de Lint book, and even his not so good efforts are far better than much of what else is available.

Once Upon a Time VI Reading Challenge – 3/21/12 – 6/19/12

With the extremely steamy first day of summer upon us, I can safely say I’ve finished this year’s reading for the Once Upon a Time Challenge.

I did challenge the first, which was to read at least five books in the challenge categories (fantasy, folklore, fairy tales and mythology).   Due to a fair number of young adult books, and because I actually only read books that fit the challenge criteria during the challenge (first year I’ve managed that), I read fifteen books this year.

By category, they are:


Fairy Tale:


Mixed (Bit of Fairy Tale, Folklore and Mythology)

All in all, it was a lot of fun, and I look forward to next year.

The Curse of Chalion – Lois McMaster Bujold

Read for the Once Upon a Time Challenge.

Cazaril has escaped from slavery, and for refuge, seeks the safest place he can think of, the noble household where he served as a page when he was a boy.    But once there, to his surprise, he’s named the secretary-tutor to the sister of the heir to the throne.    This assignment will bring him back to the crown city of Cardegoss, where the men that sold him into slavery have gained the ear of the king, and worse, threaten the life of his royal charge.    What Cazaril does to save the Royesse makes him the tool of the gods, the only man who has the chance to lift a curse on the entire royal house of Chalion.

I’ve had Bujold’s books on my radar for some time now, mostly because my friend B adores her (though in B’s case, it’s the Vorkosigan books she’s into – one of which I do have in the ‘to read’ pile).    I’ll admit, I’m not sure how I managed not to read any of her books before now.    This story was amazing – I read it in a day, because I absolutely had to find out what happened to Cazaril next.     He’s definitely one of the best heroes I’ve come across in a while – wonderfully flawed, completely over his head, but willing to do whatever he can do regardless.

I do believe I have a new author that needs their entire works added to my Bookmooch wishlist…