The Legendary Inge – Kate Stradling

Ingrid is now looking after her younger siblings, with her parents dead, and her brother off to the army to help support them. The back story to why she’s in the woods on the morning that the beast that’s been raiding the King’s Hall comes through, and she’s the one that manages to kill it, is best left to reading the book. But, the next thing she knows, she’s been adopted by the King as Prince Inge, because the man that killed the beast will marry the King’s daughter.

I loved this book. The author notes at the beginning that she got the idea when reading Beowulf, because at one point, the king adopts Beowulf, but he manages to later get out of it. But what if the king couldn’t easily back out of the arrangements? And even better, what it it wasn’t a man that slayed the fearsome beast. Everyone in this story is just great – it’s vaguely Norse, but is mainly a really enjoyable fairy tale.

Dance of Thieves – Mary E. Pearson

Kazi grew up on the streets as a thief – one of the very best. Good enough that she eventually caught the attention of the queen, who made her one of the Rahtan – her elite guards. Now, Kazi and some of the other Rahtan have been sent out of the kingdom to track one of its most wanted fugitives. (Turns out this series is set after another series – I gather you don’t need to know what happened there, but it does inform some of the whys of where we find our characters.)

Kazi ends up in Hell’s Mouth, which is ruled by the Ballenger family. What Kazi doesn’t know is that their leader has just died, and his son Jase is now the Patrei – the head of the family. The other kingdoms think the Ballengers are a bunch of savage warlords out on the fringes of the kingdoms, but they have a rich history of their own, tracing their ancestry to one of the leaders of the lasts of the Ancients. Kazi and Jase end up on their own in the desert (the hows of that are a part of the story), and naturally, they each find out that the other is far more than they appear.

I liked this book – you can see the romance coming a mile away, but the rest of the story is really well developed, and interesting. I will definitely track down the rest of this series. Things seems tied up in a fairly neat little bow at the end, but the author throws in one last chapter to let you know that everything is still totally up in the air.

The King of Faerie – AJ Lancaster

I really enjoyed the end of this series. Definitely one of the best free series I’ve ever read. (The first book was completely free, but I got the others through Kindle Unlimited.)

Hetta and Wyn are under a deadline – she’s pregnant, and they need the High King’s blessing to marry. But no one’s seen the High King in ages. Wyn and Hetta can find a way to him, if they can get all of Wyn’s siblings together, but that includes his sister Aroset, who wants to kill the rest of them.

I don’t think it’s a huge spoiler to say that Hetta and Wyn do get into the wilds of the Fae kingdoms, which is where the King is hidden away. I really liked the descriptions of those lands, and how everything leads up to also solve the mystery of Wyn’s missing mother.

Great series – I’m glad I broke my terrible habit of stringing things out, and went ahead and finished it.

Knitting Notes

Pattern:  Rose Plank by Monika Sirna

Yarn: Bare Naked Wools Targhee Tango Sport in the Apilado colorway

Needles: Size 2 circs

The Rose Plank shawl is done and blocked.      The blocking doesn’t do a ton, but if you compare the pictures of before and after, it does firm things up a bit.    I did the not all over lace pattern, and the ribbed edging.

I broke a needle making this.    I was scaling up cord size as I went, and had finally gotten to my longest in this size.    Which turned out to have a loose connection and broke, mid row.   Fortunately, this isn’t super fussy lace, so the recovery wasn’t horrible.

Really enjoyed this yarn, which came unwashed, so I will say, it was was very interesting seeing the difference after I washed and blocked it.

The Court of Mortals – AJ Lancaster

I’ve developed this really bad habit lately of parsing out books in series, even if I have all of those books available to me. I read the first book in this series a couple years ago, having gotten it for free. I did see that the others were available on Kindle Unlimited, so I figured I’d get around to reading them the next time I re’uped that. Well, that time is now, and I picked out book 2 as the first book I read. And then promptly moved on to other things. At which point, I ran into a few stinkers, and realized I’m being an idiot, and should just finish out the darn series already.

Hetta and Wyn definitely want to marry, but she needs permission from the mortal Queen, and Wyn needs permission from the High King of the Fae. In the meantime, rumors are beginning to fly around the mortal kingdom of Prydein about them, and the queen summons them to the southern capital. She’s really not sure what to make of Wyn, which puts he and Hetta’s relationship into an ackward position.

Couple that with Wyn’s worst sister trying her best to take over their father’s kingdom, and lashing out at her siblings when things aren’t going well, and things are getting rather complicated.

I liked this book because it didn’t keep the “will they or won’t they” going to ridiculous lengths – Wyn and Hetta take some very definitive, erm, steps, toward staying together. And I really like that them doing their best still hasn’t solved everything. I’ve already checked out the final book in the series – I’ll start it tonight at the latest.

Knitting Notes

Next project is started! These are the Palanen kauneinta (Piece of The Most Beautiful) socks by Tiina Kuu.

I picked them out because I wanted to do some colorwork and get rid of the fair amounts of OntheRound Nimble sock I had left. I also liked the look of the heel. I was not paying enough attention to notice they were toe up, because I probably would have avoided buying them if I had. But I’m glad I did buy them, because it forced me to try the Turkish cast on again. I absolutely hated it the last times I tried it, but it wasn’t that bad this time. I still think I like top down socks better, but I’m not going to avoid toe up as much as I was before.

The main yarn is Lana Plantae Rambouillet Fingering, which is naturally dyed with a mix of madder and cochineal. (Bought it at the last in person Common Ground Fair – queue a fair amount of nostalgia while finally deciding to do something with it.) Winding it was funny – there was a fair amount of dye flaking off. It doesn’t seem to be coming out on my fingers now that I’m knitting it, but we’ll see if I regret mixing this in with a mostly white yarn as one of the contrasting colors.

Garden Notes

This is my first stab at doing a master plan for the yard. The back yard plan is definitely longer term, but the front yard is something I could start on sooner.

Really interesting exercise – I’m glad it’s not locked in stone, because I’m sure I’ll change it, but it did help me put some good thought into what I really wanted.

Stolen Midsummer Bride – Tara Grayce

This is part of a series written by different authors about different brides stolen by various fae. I’m not sure I would have read this if it wasn’t by an author I knew I already liked – they look superficially like they could be pretty fluffy. (And I guess this one is, but not in a way that annoys me.)

The story is based around A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Basil is a librarian in the Fae’s Court of Knowledge. His fellow assistant librarians are Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena (of the play), who are all nobles. Their constant shuffling of who’s in love with who has Basil just annoyed enough that on a whim, he decides to steal a human bride.

Meg is the oldest of orphaned siblings, and things are looking pretty grim for her family. Absolutely desperate, she decides that getting stolen by a Fae lord will be the way she can save her family. She loses herself in the woods the same night that Basil decides to look for a wife.

This could absolutely be silly as all hell, but it turns out rather sweet. The two of them naturally have a few hilarious misunderstandings, but band together to save the library from the monsters that come through when the Midsummer Night revels in the neighboring court (led by none of than Titania and Oberon) get a little out of hand. I enjoyed it immensely.

The Glamourist – Luanne G. Smith

Yvette grew up in streets of Paris, left at a brothel by her mother. She’s tough and street smart, but that earned her a trip to jail when she murdered someone in self defense. In The Vine Witch, she meets Elena, also falsely accused of a crime, and ends up out of jail and back in Paris.

Elena, meanwhile is being blackmailed away from her beloved vines to try and make her give up Yvette’s location. She can’t do that, when she can tell that Yvette has hidden powers, and deserves to know more about them, and the parents that may or may not have abandoned her.

The setting for this story is lovely – turn of the last century Paris. The magic of this world isn’t too overt, so you can mistake this story for straight historical fiction a good portion of the time. Yvette’s powers are definitely interesting – I’m interested to see where the third book in this series (which centers around a third character, but will include Elena and Yvette) will take us.