West of the Moon – Margi Preus

c781b2625125482596c71476977434f414f4141This is a really sweet story, inspired by a note in the author’s great –grandmother’s diary from when she emigrated to America from Norway. Her husband had asked her to take on a young woman from the ship as a maid, because she was young, and on her own. The author’s invented a back story for her, using Scandinavian fairy tales as the back drop. It works really well.

Astri’s father has gone off to America, leaving her and her sister Greta behind with their aunt. The aunt sells Astri to the local goatman, so Astri steals back to the house to find Greta, and they’re off to America. What makes this story is the weaving in of fairy tales, as Astri tries to use them as inspiration when their path grows rough. It’s a really lovely way to tell this story – very sweetly done.


Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater

6d56c54a20cb6f8596e356f6967434f414f4141In book three of the Raven Cycle, Blue Sargent and the Algionby boys are growing closer to finding Glendower, in many ways because by this point in the story, they’ve acquired powers. This book is about them accepting those powers – in many ways, it’s about growing up.

Adam must accept that he’s a magician, but also that he can stand on his own, and that he decides the relationship he has with Gansey. Ronan’s still caustic, but he’s showing flashes of humanity. Since Blue’s mother went away, she’s learning what that means, and also more about her power. And both Blue and Gansey must look at how they feel about each other, for very different reasons.

This book is a path between important bits in the story – those can work badly if they don’t have enough action of their own, but this one works, and I think it’s because of what I mentioned above. Coming to terms with the tools they need to finish this cycle isn’t as glamorous as finding Glendower, but it’s important, and this portion of the story treats it well.

Garden Notes

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Between the fact that we’re getting a nor’easter tonight (just with rain instead of snow, woo!), and that the official check out day for the garden is Wednesday, I pulled out a whole bunch of things from the community bed this morning.

I did have one tomato plant left, but wanted that cage and stake under cover for tonight, so that came out, as well as the rest of the peppers, the marigolds, the borage, and the sorrel.   I’d pulled the eggplants and the other peppers, as well as tomato #2, last weekend.

That leaves collards, sprouting broccoli and kale, as well as the calendula, which is still so happy, I couldn’t bear to take it out.   We’re allowed to leave anything for as long as we can so long as it’s still producing, so I’ll take them out once they’re no longer blooming.

We still haven’t had a frost yet this year, which is just wacky.

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At home, I pulled out the tomato cages (and the last tomato), and the clematis trellis.   The Thai basil and shiso were looking a bit manky, so those went too.     Other than that, everything else is still out.


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This week’s haul was baby kale, arugula, radicchio and micro greens.

Last week, for the monthly meat share, I got ground beef, chicken breast, country spare ribs and a chuck steak.


Sorcerer to the Crown – Zen Cho

968e552c6864a455972496f6c41434f414f4141This book has a really interesting set up – a Regency England in a world with magic, where England has been losing their ability to work magic. The Sorcerer Royal, Sir Stephen, realized that there are plenty of other powerful magicians in the world, including Zacharias, a young slave that he bought because he sensed his potential power. He emancipated and adopted Zacharias, and it’s been his fondest wish for Zacharias to follow in his footsteps as Sorcerer Royal. Well, Sir Stephen has died, and Zacharias has succeeded to the Staff, and naturally, being an African sorcerer in Regency England is not at all easy.

While trying to figure out why their access to magic is blocked, Zacharias ends up at a school for young gentlewitches , and naturally, Regency England frowns on its women doing magic as much as they do a young African man. But one of the girls there, Prunella Gentleman, shows incredible power, and Zacharias makes arrangements to make her his apprentice, sensing that educating girls just may be England’s magical salvation.

High jinks in London quickly ensue. The story works out the way you probably think it will, but the characters are different than what this kind of story often has, and that’s what makes it. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read.