2021 Books Read

  1. We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal
  2. Angel Mage – Garth Nix
  3. The Sisters of the Winter Woods – Rena Rossner
  4. Emerald Blaze – Ilona Andrews
  5. Spellbooks and Stakings – Lily Webb
  6. The Orphans of Raspay – Lois McMaster Bujold
  7. Queen of the Darkness – Anne Bishop
  8. The Stepsister Scheme – Jim C. Hines
  9. Olympus Bound – Jordana Max Brodsky
  10. The Devourers – Indra Das
  11. Fair Game – Patricia Briggs
  12. Red Sister – Mark Lawerence
  13. European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman – Theodora Goss
  14. Dreamer’s Pool – Juliet Marillier
  15. Binti Home – Nnedi Okorafor
  16. A Study in Charlotte – Brittany Cavallero
  17. The Wind’s Twelve Quarters – Ursula K. Le Guin
  18. Sweep of the Blade – Ilona Andrews
  19. Silent Blade – Ilona Andrews
  20. The Potter’s Field – Ellis Peters
  21. Tempests and Slaughter – Tamora Pierce
  22. Magic for Liars – Sarah Gailey
  23. Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch
  24. Between Ink and Shadows – Melissa Wright
  25. Beauty – Robin McKinley
  26. Faerie Fruit – Charlotte E. English
  27. The Girl with Ghost Eyes – M. H. Boroson
  28. Seonag and the Seawolves – M. Evan MacGriogair
  29. Kingdom of Ash and Briars – Hannah West
  30. Seasons of the Storm – Elle Cosimano
  31. Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo
  32. Spy, Spy Again – Mercedes Lackey
  33. The Physicians of Vilnoc – Lois McMaster Bujold
  34. Down Among the Sticks and Bones – Seanan McGuire
  35. Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch
  36. Summer Wildflowers of the Northeast – Carol Gracie
  37. Plant Partners – Jessica Walliser
  38. Troll Queen – Tara Grayce
  39. A Shadow Bright and Burning – Jessica Cluess
  40. The Masked City – Genevieve Cogman
  41. Andromeda’s Tear – Thea Landen
  42. The Phantom Atlas – Edward Brooke-Hitching
  43. Murder of Crows – Anne Bishop
  44. Entangled Life – Merlin Sheldrake
  45. The Princess Companion – Melanie Cellier
  46. Mars Burning – Cidney Swanson
  47. The Blacksmith Queen – G.A. Aiken
  48. The Princess Knight – G.A. Aiken
  49. Smoke Bitten – Patricia Briggs
  50. Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland – Lisa Schneidau
  51. Binti: The Night Masquerade – Nnedi Okorafor
  52. Elemental Thief – Rachel Morgan
  53. A Naturalist’s Book of Wildflowers – Laura C. Martin
  54. Whispers Under Ground – Ben Aaronovitch
  55. The Just City – Jo Walton
  56. Grow Your Own Spices – Tasha Greer
  57. Broken Homes – Ben Aaronovitch
  58. The Empress of Salt and Fortune – Nghi Vo
  59. Foxglove Summer – Ben Aaronovitch
  60. What Abigail Did that Summer – Ben Aaronovitch
  61. Dragon Actually – G. A. Aiken
  62. Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles – Thomas Lennon
  63. Burn for Me – Ilona Andrews
  64. Heartstone – Elle Katharine White
  65. The Furthest Station – Ben Aaronovitch
  66. A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
  67. In the Forest of Forgetting – Theodora Goss
  68. The Demon’s Den and Other Tales of Valdemar – Tanya Huff
  69. Wild Colours – Jenny Dean
  70. Shadow of Night – Deborah Harkness
  71. Rosemary and Rue – Seanan McGuire
  72. Liberty – The Archivist’s Edit
  73. Terciel & Elinor – Garth Nix
  74. The Glass Gargoyle – Marie Andreas
  75. Thorn – Intisar Khanini
  76. Brambles – Intisar Khanini
  77. Dead Heat – Patricia Briggs

I feel like I didn’t read as much this year, though looking at the raw numbers, I’m fairly on par with normal years. But I do feel like my mojo has gone away a bit – I feel like I’m not alone in this. It’s definitely been a weird year.


Books I Couldn’t Finish – 2021

1. The Discovery of Middle Earth – Graham Robb

I’m about forty percent of the way through this book, and I just can’t anymore. The author is writing about his ideas for the continental Celts’ cosmology, and why they built their towns were they did. They’re not bad ideas, but I don’t think they’re enough for an entire book. So it’s also a bit of a travelogue of his going to these places, and honestly? I just don’t care. I’m letting this one go. I won’t delete it, but I doubt I’ll ever go back to it.

2. Goddess Curse – RaShelle Workman

I normally nope out of free Kindle books pretty quickly if I don’t like them – I can usually tell that the style is something I won’t be able to deal with. In this case, the prologue was great – it was a take on Egyptian mythology that had a pretty good set up. And then it became a whiny YA regency story. I could not deal with the main character. Oh well.

3. A Throne for Sisters – Morgan Rice

The writing for this is pretty good, so I’m not deleting it outright. However, when two sisters escape an orphanage and go their separate ways to try and make their different ways in the world, when one of them is having a wretched time of it, and the other one waltzes into the palace and immediately attracts the eyes of a prince, I just can’t.

4. The Heart of the Garden – Victoria Connelly

This is an ensemble piece of the members of a small town that inherit the big house when the last heir dies, on the condition that they restore the garden within a year. Naturally, there are flashbacks to the younger years of said heir, and of course, everyone in the present day has some burden they’re bearing. I just wasn’t grabbed by any of it. Sat on this one for many months before I decided I just needed to let it go.

Dead Heat – Patricia Briggs

This the fourth of the Alpha and Omega books, and I’m still back a bit from where I’m up to the Mercy Thompson books. Here, the Fae have newly retreated to their reservations, and it seems that some of them are not happy to have had to this. They’re unleashing some of their worst against humans.

Charles and Anna have traveled to Arizona ostensibly to buy Anna a horse, but actually so that Charles can visit an old friend. Joseph is the son of the local Alpha, but not a werewolf himself. They met when Joseph was fourteen. He’s in his eighties now, and he’s actually dying.

Coincidentally, Joseph’s family is brought into the humans’ fight with the Fae, when Joseph’s grandchildren are attacked. While the Marrok had tried to keep the werewolves out of the Fae/human issues, the Sanis are family, and he and Anna are drawn in.

This is a fairy tale at heart, and surprisingly fast paced one. I’m really growing to appreciate this story on the side of Mercy’s story – it’s interesting to see the longer reaching implications of the politics of the situation. These books fall into the urban fantasy/paranormal romance portion of fantasy (based on their covers alone), which I’m fairly suspicious of, but I’m so glad I got over my instant dislike of the Mercy Thompson covers and started reading them.

2021 Knitting Projects

I think it’s safe to say I won’t be finishing any more knitting projects this year, so here’s this past year’s completed collage. It feels a bit low in count, but better than 2020, at least. Part of this is that I’ve been doing more cross stitch, but I feel like my mojo for a lot of things I enjoy doing in my off hours has suffered this year. I hope I can get that under control for next year.

Embroidery Notes

Things just look so much better when you’re stitching on fabric that actually shows off the main contrasting color!

This is the Fly Agarics pattern from Owl Forest (furthering my current obsession with Russian designers). It’s nice to have a stitching project going again – I was leaning pretty heavily into the knitting to see what I could get done before the end of the year.

Garden Notes

I’m doing an online garden design class – I decided I wanted to approach this new garden a little more planfully since I have so much more room than I’ve ever had before to deal with.

The pictures above are the first substantial home work – doing a detailed plan of the plot. I ended up splitting the back and front yards, since I will be treating them differently. This was really fun to do – I started with my city’s tax records online. Since my plot is so square (it’s 1oox100 feet if you don’t include the city setback portion of the front yard), it was really easy to scale up from that plan. The class also had a few tricks for using Google maps that came in handy.

I do still need a couple things (mainly plotting the slope in the backyard) that I’ll need to do once the snow goes away (there’s just enough on the ground to make tramping around annoying).

The next part of the class is more around the actual design – that’ll be a treat in the depths of January.

Thorn and Brambles – Intisar Khanani

Thorn is a retelling of the “Goose Girl” fairy tale. Here, we have Princess Alyrra, who has absolutely no value to her own family, slated to marry into the family of the powerful kingdom they border. Alyrra’s not really sure why – her own kingdom is small, and she’s not sure what she can bring to Menaiya. There’s also the small matter that their royal family is dying out.

Alyrra is not in favor in court because she dared expose the girl who her brother wished to marry as a thief. Valka also tried to frame a servant. Alyrra has at least won the loyalty of the servants by her actions, but her brother and mother are disgusted by her. And it’s Valka who’s chosen to be her companion when she journeys to Menaiya.

It’s this journey where Alyrra finds out why the Menaiyan Royal family is dying out – a powerful Fae Lady is capturing them, and she has enlisted Valka to help her ensnare the Prince. Valka and Alyrra switch bodies, and Alyrra is placed under a spell so she cannot discuss it with anyone. She’s banished to be the goose girl, though she does still hold power over Valka, so it’s not a complete banishment.

I really liked what the author did with this story – there’s a lot going on in the kingdom for Alyrra to notice, and her prince is a well fleshed out character. I know this book was originally self-published – I can see why it was picked up by a regular publisher.

“Brambles” is the story of when Alyrra exposes Valka. You really wouldn’t want to read it if you hadn’t already read Thorn – I think it’s more powerful when you know the consequences of that day.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Basic 4Ply Socks by Winwick Mum
Yarn: Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM) in 525P, and Ontheround Nimble Sock in the Barred Owl and Narwhal colorways
Needles: 2.5 DPNs

Along with these socks, my scrappy socks for the Dads are done.    This is a great pattern – really adaptable, and most people above a complete beginner should be able to use it.

The yarn is great – all really good varied skein colors.    I did have trouble finally using up this Koigu – I think the moral of that story is that I probably don’t like overly variegated skeins that much in actual practice.     They’re lovely to look at, but I don’t like them as much knit up.

The Glass Gargoyle – Marie Andreas

Taryn is an archaeologist working in the ruins of the elves, who vanished from their kingdom thousands of years ago. Problem is, you need a patron to work on the digs, and hers keep dying. So she’s also working as a bounty hunter, and her latest bounty manages to drag her into a wild adventure.

I got a kick out of this world. Taryn has three drunken fairy sidekicks (like, seriously, obnoxiously drunken), and that really sets the tone. There’s a ton of other interesting races kicking about the city, and the mystery of the elven ruins has potential. Not bad at all for a free Kindle read.