The Blacksmith Queen – G.A. Aiken

There’s a prophesy that when the Old King dies, his replacement will be a Queen. Keeley is the oldest of whole bunch of kids (thing number one I loved about this book – Keeley’s family – they’re a hoot), and has carried on her mother’s family tradition of blacksmithing. When she finds out it’s her younger sister Beatrix who will be queen, she suddenly has her hands full protecting her family.

I feel like I shouldn’t say too much about this book, because it’s just the unfolding of the story that I really enjoyed. There’s plenty of swearing, and Keeley is both hard as nails, and also one of the most caring people you’ll ever run into. Beatrix’s path ends up being interesting. I’ve already started the second book because I’m very interested to see how this continues – the story is really only starting, and I’m curious to see where things go.

Mars Burning – Cidney Swanson

We’re starting to get to the end game of this series. The Earth chancellor thinks Jess and Pavel are dead, so she’s trying to figure out how to destroy Mars and put an end to any final threads the two may have left on Earth. Meanwhile, they’re desperately trying to help Ethan figure out how to disable the satelites around Mars.

In the meantime, there’s an election on Mars, and the Mars chancellor’s opponent decides to contact Earth on his own. (That was a hilariously dead on impression of certain government types from recent years, written before that actually happened. Some of the future dystopian stuff is hitting way too close to home these days…)

There are two more books left, so things should start moving pretty quickly now – I’m definitely interested to see how things wrap up, and how the Marsians end up getting themselves back to Mars.

The Princess Companion – Melanie Cellier

This book is a retelling of ‘The Princess and the Pea’, but where it’s an ordinary girl who gets thrown in with the royal family, and eventually earns her place there by being herself.

Alyssa is separated from her party in a storm and ends up at the Winter Palace. After completely charming the 11-year-old twin princesses (who are normally uncharmable), she’s asked to stay as their companion.

The twins’ older brother is also there, of course, and since things are pretty informal at the Winter Palace, you can pretty much see where this is going. But Alyssa manages to stay with the family when they go back to Court, and is there to save them when plans to marry off the crown prince to secure an alliance go horribly wrong.

This is fun book – nothing earth shatteringly new as far as the story is concerned, but a really enjoyable, comfortable fairy tale read.

Embroidery Notes

Night Walks Down is done. (The way the flowers in the fifth and sixth panels blended made it so I did them together, so no separate pictures.)

I really enjoyed this pattern. I’m probably going to get a frame sooner rather than later for this, although where I think I want to put it needs to be painted first.