Delray Beach, FL

I’m back from a very delightful break from winter in Florida.    My sister and niece were there as well (we stayed with my father and C at their condo), which was so much fun.    You can really have a conversation with her now.  I’m sorry they’re not closer so we can have them more often.  But anyway, I enjoyed my brief interlude of wearing socks only when I chose to and not being surgically attached to a bottle of hand lotion.    I’ve been back less than twenty four hours, and both the socks and hand lotion are firmly back in place.


The Reluctant Queen – Sarah Beth Durst

13c702ff354aef7596c53316f41434f414f4141This is the second books in the Queens of Renthia series. Delaina has come to the throne as the last survivor of all the heirs in Aratay. And while she is young and should have many years ahead of her to reign, she finds she has contracted the False Death. When she has spells, the Spirits of Aratay believe her to be dead, and it is only the power of the queen that keeps them from harming the people of Aratay, so she of all people cannot afford to be ill. Delaina sets her healers to find a cure, and her champions to find new heirs.

Finding heirs is a problem though – all of the experienced candidates were killed, except Delaina. Her champion, Ven, decides that he must pursue an alternate route to find a new candidate – look for women with power who never came to the academies. That’s how he finds Naelin. She’s probably more powerful than Delaina, but after watching her mother die when she summoned too many spirits to handle, she’s afraid to use her power. But she’s going to need to, because the queen of a neighboring kingdom has decided to invade Aratay, and Delaina can’t defend them alone.

I’m not sure quite sure what I thought about this book. I like the first one better. This one has a few too many elements in it that I can’t decide if they work or not. I think I need to read the third book before I’ll be able to say if this one worked or not.

Long May She Reign – Ellen Emerson White

5c844cb38268a91593859395841434f414f4141This is the fourth book in a series about the daughter of the first woman president. I received the first one as a gift in middle school, and read the other two quite a while ago. It took me a while to track this fourth one down (and it was written quite a while after the first ones – the differences in the cultural references are funny).

In the third book, Meg was kidnapped by terrorists. When they left her alone, handcuffed in a cave, she smashed her hand to get free, and did manage to find her way back to civilization in time to be saved. (I swear, this is way less melodramatic than it summarizes as.) In this book, she’s back to DC, and everyone – her parents, her two brothers, the staffers they’re close to, and definitely Meg – is still very traumatized. This book is all them putting the pieces back together again, and it’s pretty well done.

What I liked is that everyone is pretty screwed up by this, and no one wants to talk about it. The things that are going on feel very real. Meg also still decides to go to her first year of college (second semester at least), at Williams College. This works on so many levels – first college experiences, having to work trauma recovery into that. Having to work in the fact that her mother is the first female present, and the very real fact that Meg’s starting realize she may want to study politics is also fun. So this book may sound like it could be pretty melodramatic, but it really works without taking itself too seriously. I hadn’t read the other books in the series recently, but I’m reminded why I like them (enough that I do still have them).

The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey

32a7f32174eb49f5972524f6941434f414f4141This is a lovely book, set in Alaska, at the turn of the last century. Mabel and Jack are an older couple, who have escaped their past lives to the frontier of Alaska. It was supposed to be a fresh start – a chance to work together on something, but signs are not looking good that they’ll be able to survive their second winter. But, they make friends with a neighboring family, and the farm slowly starts to come together, and it just seems like they may find what they need in Alaska.

One of Mabel’s failures is that their only child died as he was born, and it’s that lack of children that Mabel is feeling acutely. This is where “The Snow Child” comes in – there’s a Russian fairy tale of an elderly couple that wanted a child so badly that when they made a snow girl, it came to life. And this is when Faina comes into their lives – Jack knows that she’s flesh and blood – he helps her bury her father, but to Mabel, she might just be a fairy tale. But she is a child, and the three of them form a bond. And the question is, will the end of the snow take her away from them?

The author is from Alaska, and it shows in the descriptions of the landscapes in this book – you almost feel like you’re there. And it is a lovely book – a love story on many levels, and well worth the read.

Fire Touched – Patricia Briggs

a85f4b93f60ad6959714a6e6c51434f414f4141When a troll attacks one of the local bridges, the police department calls the local werewolf pack, and with Adam, the alpha being away, Mercy (his mate) gets to go to see how they can help. The pack does manage to kill the troll, which Mercy is pretty sure was sent by the Fae Gray Lords, and she manages to mention on national television that the Tri-Cities area is under the pack’s protection. The Fae don’t take this well.

This is very much an in between book- there is Mercy’s declaration at the beginning, and her friends Zee and Tad do manage to escape the Fae reservation with a rather mysterious human boy who is clearly more than he seems, but the consequences of that are clearly still building. The book was therefore over in a flash – it’s a good thing I already have the next one.


02092019 002a

It was hard to capture in good light (it being February, and me having a job in daylight hours, and all), but our backyard looks like a pond.    It’s been a weird winter – instead of melting that has a chance to go away, we’re getting these really warm days followed by a near instant freeze.    There’s way more ice then there normally is.   I hate ice.   It’s hard enough moving around outside this time of year anyway, but this is not helping.

Knitting Notes


Pattern: Wrap Me Up Puppy by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: I Knit or Dye Killing Me Softly Aran light brown and MadelineTosh Vintage in Cardinal
Needles: Size 4 DPNs and Size 6 circs and DPNs

Here’s a little more stash busting.   I’m not super in love with the end result – it’s more my finishing abilities then anything else.   I think this’ll go into the home play bin, rather than the gift stash.


Knitting Notes


My Telja sweater is coming along quite nicely – both sleeves are done, and I’ve started on the body.

Here’s all of January and just a little bit of February in the temperature scarves.   I’ve added one more color – Silver, for below 0.   (Had one line in January.)   You can see the last line I did in the high scarf is actually for the 50 degree range, and I get to introduce the 60s right next to it.   (The first few days of February were interesting.)    Other that that, it’s followed as I would expect January to run –  mostly teens to 30s, with some colder days worked in.

Garden Notes


My 2019 seeds are in.    One of the big things I decided for this year is that I’m skipping tomatoes entirely.    They’re just so variable, and actually fairly easy to get at the farmer’s market.    So that’ll leave me room to play around with.    I have two peppers to try – a Korean drying pepper, and a cooking pepper that’s supposed to do well in this region.   I’m going to try one of each here and at the community garden plot, just to see which area does better.

I’m going to do khuri squash again, but here at the house, where it’ll be less in the eye of squash smashing hooligans.    Hopefully it’ll be happy in the tomato bags.

Other that that, I’m trying some broccoli greens, and a type of broccoli that was bred in Brazil, but also apparently does really well in this region.   My last new things are flowers – black cumin Nigella, which is harvestable, and an ornamental sage, which is not, but looked so pretty, I went with it anyway.    I’ll fill in the rest with things I already own.    Planting will commence on 3/2.

Siege and Storm – Leigh Bardugo

c8d9d5f0224999659675a727141434f414f4141Alina and Mal have tried to run from the Darkling, but he finds them, and brings them back to Ravka. But the Darkling isn’t aware that his allies are not all that they seem, and the privateer he has hired to bring them back to Ravka instead saves Alina and Mal for his own ends.

And so it is that Alina finds herself back in Os Alta, now in charge of all the Grisha, needing to plan how to defend them and the King from the inevitable day that the Darkling will return. She’s more sure of her power, and now has heard of a way she might be able to increase it, but that power is putting her at odds with Mal, and leading her down a path she isn’t sure she really wants to follow.

This is a good middle book – you can’t say it’s really that full of action, but it definitely sets up what should be a good ending to this trilogy.