The Continuation of Spring

Ok, it’s slow, and definitely late,but things are happening.

By the time I got out last Sunday to rake and bring the pots out of the garage, there were daffodils!

It was so cold over the winter, I’m not sure what’s going to come back from the potted perennials.    Here’s hoping there’s not too much carnage.


Harvard University, Cambridge MA

From last weekend.     After meeting up with BF’s brother C in Harvard Square, we realized that in the umpteen different times we’ve been down there together, we’ve never wandered around Harvard.   (I had never, but BF thinks he may have as a teenager.)     So here’s a selection from Harvard and Radcliffe yards, courtesy of my brand new smartphone (yes, I have finally joined the 2010’s!)

Though it’s not that similar to my college (well, campus size wise – the undergrad student body at least is similar), I will admit, it made me a little nostalgic for my school.

Unnatural Issue – Mercedes Lackey

Read for the Once Upon a Time VIII Reading Challenge.

Susanne Whitestone had lived all her life in her father’s Yorkshire manor house.     And while she had a happy childhood, it did not involve her father.    Susanne’s mother had died in childbirth, and Richard Whitestone had withdrawn into his second floor rooms in grief.      Raised instead by the servants, Susanne had never actually seen her father.

Meanwhile, Richard’s grief has turned dark.     When Susanne is almost twenty one, he catches a glimpse of her outside the window, and sees the spitting image of his dead wife.   Richard had been an Earth master, but his grief has twisted him, and he hatches a plan to bring Rebecca’s spirit into Susanne’s body using the dark powers of necromancy.

This book is based on the tale ‘Donkeyskin’, where a king wishes to marry his daughter because she’s the only woman like his dead wife.     In this case though, it’s set against the backdrop of World War I, and with the world of Lackey’s Elemental Masters series.     The necromancy aspect was definitely a good twist to the story.    I’ve long been a fan of these books, and this series has continued with the good form shown before.

Gods and Myths of Northern Europe – H. R. Ellis Davidson

Read for the Once Upon a Time VIII Reading Challange.

While this book is now fifty years old, it’s still regarded as a good overview of Norse and German mythology.

This is a scholarly work, so don’t go in expecting just stories.     There’s an overview of the Northern European worldview, and chapters dedicated to various gods.   (Odin and Thor get their own chapters – everyone else is grouped according to function.)     It’s quite accessible – I’d definitely recommend it if you want a greater background on characters you’ve heard of before.   (For instance, I didn’t realize that Thor’s wife is Sif, which lent me a whole new level of understanding to the current Marvel movies – not a comic book reader either, if that would have given me more depth of understanding.)

I’ll be keeping this book in my reference library – it’s one of those that’ll be good for checking into literary allusions to make sure I’m getting context.

Lost Lake – Sarah Addison Allen

LibraryThing Early Reviewers book.

About a year after her husband passed away, one morning, Kate wakes up.    While she’s been out on autopilot, her mother in law has taken the reigns – getting Kate’s daughter Devin into a new school, and packing their house up to sell.     She’s even given Kate a new job in her real estate business.     But Kate’s awake now, and in the detritus of the soon to be sold house, she finds a post card from her great aunt, from Lost Lake.

Kate’s Aunt Eby has owned Lost Lake since the 50s, and Kate spent the best summer of her childhood there – until they left abruptly when Eby and Kate’s mother fought.    On a whim, Kate decides to take Devin there – a last blast before they settle into the new life that Kate’s mother in law has planned for them.  Things have changed in Lost Lake – Eby is ready to sell, but Kate and Devin’s arrival just might change that.

This is a really sweet story about loss, and letting your life go on.    More than just Eby and Kate’s lives are intertwined with the lake – and Eby’s decision to sell helps an entire town understand that nothing is truly lost.

It’s About Freaking Time!

Why yes, it’s April now, and I’m just getting crocus.

This winter has completely sucked.    While we didn’t get that much snow (last year’s blizzard made that winter worse snowfall-wise), I don’t ever remember it being this cold, and I have a working recall of winters here back to the early 80s.    

Thankfully, we seem to have finally turned a corner.    It’s been close to 50 all week.   (Never hit 50 in March, which pretty much never happens.)      And never have I been more excited to have rainfall coming.     This is probably the first weekend where we’re dealing with a truly spring-receding snowpack.    Thank god.

In the Forests of Serre – Patricia A. McKillip

Read for the Once Upon a Time VIII Reading Challenge.

This ended up being a fortuitous pick for the Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge, as this tale owes a great deal to tales from Russian folklore.

Ferus is the king of Serre, and is a cruel man.    His only son and heir, Ronan, has recently lost his wife and their unborn child.     He’s still heartbroken, but Ferus has already sent for Sidonie, the youngest daughter of the King of Dacia, to be Ronan’s new wife.

As Ronan travels through the forests of Serre, he encounters the witch Brume (aka Baba Yaga, house with chicken legs and all), and having accidentally killed one of her chickens, she demands that he catch the firebird for her.   (Yet another Russian tale.)     Ronan if forced on this journey as Sidonie approaches through the forest, with a wizard as a guardian.

In the third Russian folkloric nod, Sidonie’s escort, the wizard Gyre, is a wrapped up in a rather complex tangle with the wizard Unciel, most powerful wizard in Dacia, that harks back to Koschei the Immortal, who keeps his heart in a box, and can only be killed if that heart is found and destroyed.

The main story is still of Ronan and Sidonie – will Ronan be able to love again, and will Sidonie’s presence in Serre save her kingdom from being invaded?     It does sound rather simple, but the intertwining tales make it something deeper.